Acts 2 Commentary

To go directly to that verse

             Tongues as of fire - Acts 2:3

Click chart to enlarge
Charts from Jensen's Survey of the NT - used by permission
Another Chart from Charles Swindoll
Another Chart on Acts

NOTE: This Verse by Verse Commentary page is part of an ongoing project to add notes to each verse of the Bible. Therefore some verses may not yet have notes, but if the Lord tarries and gives me breath, additions will follow in the future (He has tarried and Acts is now a finished project to the praise of the glory of His grace). The goal is to edify and equip you for the work of service (Eph 4:12-13+) that the Lord God might be glorified in your life and in His Church. Amen (Isa 61:3b+, Mt 5:16+)

Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.

  • the day (KJV): Ac 20:16 Ex 23:16 34:22 Lev 23:15-21 Nu 28:16-31 De 16:9-12 1Co 16:8 
  • they (KJV): Ac 2:46 1:13-15 4:24,32 5:12 2Ch 5:13 30:12 Ps 133:1 Jer 32:39 Zep 3:9 Ro 15:6 Php 1:27 2:2 
  • Map of Pentecost and the Diaspora
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Amplified  AND WHEN the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all assembled together in one place, 

ESV  When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.

KJV And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

NET Now when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.

NIV When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place.

NLT On the day of Pentecost all the believers were meeting together in one place.

YLT And in the day of the Pentecost being fulfilled, they were all with one accord at the same place,


Click chart to enlarge
(From Irving Jensen)


Acts 2 can be divided into 4 main events all related to the arrival of the Holy Spirit

  1. The Arrival of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4)
  2. The Reaction to the Holy Spirit's Arrival (Acts 2:5-13)
    a. Amazement (Acts 2:5-12)
    b. Mockery (Acts 2:13)
  3. The Explanation of the Holy Spirit's Arrival (Acts 2:14-36)
  4. The Effect of the Holy Spirit's Arrival (2:37-47)
    a. Conviction (Acts 2:37)
    b. Confession (Acts 2:38-41)
    c. Commencement of the Church (Acts 2:42-47)

Beloved, Luke's words in Acts 2:1-4 are some of the most important ever written, because they describe the birth of the Church, the Bride of Christ, and its empowerment for service. Someone has said if you do not accurately comprehend what is taught in Acts 2, you will not fully understand the rest of the book of Acts. Jesus had spoken of this new entity, the Church, when He promised His disciples "I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it." (Mt 16:18-note, sermon) Notice that Jesus did not say I will "continue building My church," which would imply that the church in the NT was simply as extension of a "church" that was already in existence in the Old Testament. The implication is very clear -- there was NO church in existence in the Old Testament. Notice also that Jesus uses the future tense which is a verb form that marks the event described by the verb as not having happened yet, but expected to happen in the future. The tense also signifies that the Church was not yet in existence in the Old Testament. Finally, notice that Jesus used the active voice which signifies that He is the One Who will build His Church. Clearly, He will work in concert with the Holy Spirit, but Jesus is, so to speak, "the Master Architect" of His Church.  

Warren Wiersbe Vance Havner made that statement and he was right. The early church had none of the things that we think are so essential for success today—buildings, money, political influence, social status—and yet the church won multitudes to Christ and saw many churches established throughout the Roman world. Why? Because the church had the power of the Holy Spirit energizing its ministry. They were a people who “were ignited by the Spirit of God.”  That same Holy Spirit power is available to us today to make us more effective witnesses for Christ. The better we understand His working at Pentecost, the better we will be able to relate to Him and experience His power. The ministry of the Spirit is to glorify Christ in the life and witness of the believer (John 16:14), and that is what is important.(Bible Exposition Commentary )

From the schematic above notice the phrases Jesus went and 10 days later (this time interval not in the schematic) the Holy Spirit came, on the Day of Pentecost bringing about the birth of the Church, the Body of Christ (Eph 1:22-23+). This is the day the Church was born in contrast to what some modern theologians teach (see excursus). The entity of the Church, the Body of Christ, had never existed and was not revealed in the Old Testament. The apostle Paul said the Church was a mystery, a divine secret hidden in he heart of God, and revealed in New Testament times. For three years Jesus ministered in Person in the power of the Spirit on the earth but the coming of the Holy Spirit marked the beginning of the ministry of Jesus in Heaven working through His disciples on earth in the power of the Holy Spirit.  The coming of the Spirit would bring the supernatural power the disciples would need to "be (Jesus') witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8+), bringing about the expansion of the Church throughout the world.

On a number of occasions Jesus had promised His disciples that the events that took place on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4) would come to pass and below are several of those passages which help give us context

In John Jesus gave a promise of power...

Now on the last day, the great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 “He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, Whom those who believed in Him were to receive (THE FIRST GROUP WOULD BE THE 120 GATHERED ALL TOGETHER); for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified (THAT HAPPENED IN Acts 1:9-11). (John 7:37-39+)

Comment - Jesus' death (foreshadowed in Passover) and resurrection (foreshadowed in Feast of Firstfruits) and return to Heaven had to occur before the Spirit could be given (Pentecost), synchronizes perfectly with the Jewish calendar in Leviticus 23 describing the feasts of Passover, Firstfruits, and then Pentecost. While the disciples did not know for certain the day they would be baptized with the Spirit, if they understood that the two previous feasts, Passover and Firstfruits, had been fulfilled in Christ's death and resurrection, then they might have reasoned that the next feast, Pentecost (which was "not many days from" Jesus promise of the Spirit, cf Acts 1:5+) would be the very day on which the Spirit would arrive. However even if they suspected the day, they still did not know the hour which accounts for "suddenness" (and surprise) of His arrival. 

In the Upper Room Discourse (John 13-16) Jesus promised to give the disciples the Holy Spirit

John 14:16+ I will ask the Father, and He will give you Another (NOT HETEROS BUT ALLOS - ANOTHER JUST LIKE JESUS) Helper, that He may be with you forever.  that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. 

Comment: Notice the change of preposition from with to in. Jesus was informing His disciples that things were about to change regarding the ministry of the Holy Spirit. In the OT, the Spirit predominantly came upon people to empower them for service (Jdg 3:10, 6:34, 11:28, 14:6, 19, 15:14, 1 Sa 10:9,10,19:20,23; 2 Ch 20:14; Nu 24:2; 16:13; 1 Ch 12:18). In a few instances the Spirit was described as IN some individuals (Nu 27:18; 1 Pe 1:11)  but His ministry was always temporary, which is why David prayed "Do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me," (Ps 51:11), a prayer that the disciples (and all NT believers) would soon never need to pray because the Spirit would soon come to indwell them permanently ("with you forever.") 

John 15:26+  When the Helper comes (ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST), Whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, and you will testify also (BE WITNESSES OF JESUS WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT THEY DID IN BOOK OF ACTS - e.g., Acts 8:35, 10:43, 17:2-3, etc), because you have been with Me from the beginning.

John 16:7-8 But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away (REFERRING TO JESUS' ASCENSION AND GLORIFICATION), the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. “And He, when He comes, will convict (EXPOSE THEIR HEART) the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment;

John 16:13-16 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come (THIS IS REFERRING TO THE INSPIRATION OF THE SCRIPTURES WHICH THE APOSTLES WOULD LATER WRITE). 14 “He will glorify Me (THIS IS ONE OF THE PRIMARY MINISTRIES OF THE HOLY SPIRIT), for He will take of Mine and will disclose it to you."

In Luke after His resurrection Jesus instructed the 11 disciples...

“And behold (idou - CALLS FOR ONE TO PAY ATTENTION!), I am sending forth the Promise of My Father upon you (THE PROMISE IS A PERSON, THE HOLY SPIRIT); but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power (dunamis) from on high.” (Lk 24:49+)

In Acts we come to the Jesus "40 day seminar" (so to speak) during which He "presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them (HIS 11 DISCIPLES) over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God." (Acts 1:3+). Then Luke records some of Jesus' last instructions to His disciples...

Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for (perimeno in the present tense - keep on waiting for) what the Father had promised (SEE Luke 24:49+), “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me (ESPECIALLY THE PASSAGES IN THE GOSPEL OF JOHN); for John baptized with water (Jn 19:4-see discussion of John's Baptism), but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:4-5+, cf Acts 11:16+)

Comment: So on the day Jesus ascended back to the Father, He repeated the promise of  the coming of the Holy Spirit, but added that they would have to wait. It is interesting that Jesus told them they would not have to wait long for it would be not many days from now.  Note that Jesus only said not many days from now but did not specify it would be 10 days, on the Day of Pentecost. He simply instructed them to wait for what the Father had promised. And many times we too have to wait for the Father's promise, but He is always faithful. As Adrian Rogers said "You can save a lot of time — by waiting on God!" Notice also the baptism is not with water, but with the Holy Spirit, a spiritual baptism, not a physical water baptism. Notice also, Jesus did not tell them to pray for this baptism with the Spirit! Some teach one needs to pray for the baptism of the Spirit, but that is not in the Bible!

For completeness, remember that the gift of the Spirit was also promised in the Old Testament...

Isaiah 32:15 Until the Spirit is poured out upon us from on high, And the wilderness becomes a fertile field, And the fertile field is considered as a forest. 

Isaiah 44:3  ‘For I will pour out water on the thirsty land And streams on the dry ground; I will pour out My Spirit on your offspring (REMEMBER HE IS SPEAKING TO JEWS WHO ARE THE PRIMARY RECIPIENTS OF THIS PROMISE AS WE SEE IN ACTS 2, BUT THEN OF COURSE APPLICABLE TO GENTILE BELIEVERS AS ALSO SHOWN IN ACTS) And My blessing on your descendants; 

Ezekiel 36:27-note (CONTEXT IS DESCRIPTION OF THE NEW COVENANT) “I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances.

Joel 2:28-note  “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. 

And then in Acts 1:8 Jesus explained why the disciples needed to wait to receive the Spirit

but you will receive power (dunamis = supernatural power) when the Holy Spirit has come upon you (THIS IS THE BAPTISM - MANIFEST BY THE SOUND LIKE WIND AND SIGHT LIKE FIRE); and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8+)

Twice Luke records the disciples' obedience to the instructions of their Lord in Lk 24:49+ and  Acts 1:4+...

Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.Acts 1:12

And they, after worshiping Him  (as Jesus parted from them - Lk 24:51), returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising God. (Lk 24:52-53)

With this background context, now we can now look at Acts 2 which describes the coming of the Holy Spirit to baptize the 120 disciples.

And when the day of Pentecost had come -  Luke begins with the "when" and then describes the "what" (i.e., "what" transpired on the "when"). As noted, this is 10 days after Jesus ascended, so they knew that now the Spirit could be given, because the condition had been fulfilled that Jesus had been glorified (Jn 7:39). They did not know exactly when the Spirit would be given but just that it would not be many days from His ascension (Acts 1:5). The fact that they did not know the exact time of the Spirit's arrival explains Luke's use of suddenly (Acts 2:2) which describes something as happening quickly and without warning. 

The day of Pentecost - The "when" is the day of Pentecost known by several other names -- The Festival of the Harvest of the First Fruits (Ex 23:16) and "the Feast of Weeks, that is, the first fruits of the wheat harvest" (Ex 34:22) which is celebrated by modern Jews as Shabuoth/Shavuot (or Shavual). The Day of Pentecost was an annual Jewish feast that was held in Jerusalem and was likely the best attended of the three required feasts (Three times in a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God in the place which He chooses, at the Feast of Unleavened Bread and at the Feast of Weeks and at the Feast of Booths or Tabernacles - Dt 16:16, 2 Chr 8:13b), because the weather conditions were the most amenable to travel.  Pentecost is also called the Day of First-fruits (Nu 28:26) (NOTE: NOT FEAST OF FIRST FRUITS WHICH WAS THE THIRD SPRING FEAST IN THE CHART BELOW) because on that day the first loaves made from the wheat harvest were offered to the Lord. It was to be a joyful time in recognition of Yahweh's provision for that year's harvest. In this sense, Pentecost is similar to our holiday in America called Thanksgiving. Note that if Pentecost was fifty days later (seven weeks plus one day) then Pentecost also took place on the first day of the week. "Christians assemble and worship on Sunday, the first day of the week, because on that day our Lord arose from the dead, but it was also the day on which the Holy Spirit was given to the church." (Wiersbe Bible Exposition Commentary )

Constable on Pentecost - Jews who lived up to 20 miles from Jerusalem were expected to travel to Jerusalem to attend these feasts. Pentecost usually fell in late May or early June. Travelling conditions then made it possible for Jews who lived farther away to visit Jerusalem too. These factors account for the large number of Jews present in Jerusalem on this particular day....God received a "new crop" of believers, Christians, on this particular day of Pentecost." (Acts 2 Commentary)

Pentecost is a transliteration of the Greek word pentekoste (from pente = five, cf "Pentateuch" = first five books) and literally means "fiftieth, because this feast is to take place annually 50 days after Passover. Pentecost is used only three times in the NT (Acts 2:1, Acts 20:16, 1 Cor 16:8). This specific word is not found in the Septuagint. 

The Feast of Weeks  is described in Leviticus 23 (commentary)

You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete sabbaths. 16 ‘You shall count fifty days (Lxx = pentekosta) to the day after the seventh sabbath (NLT = "Keep counting until the day after the seventh Sabbath, fifty days later"); then you shall present a new grain offering to the LORD. 17 ‘You shall bring in from your dwelling places two loaves of bread for a wave offering, (LOAVES MADE OF WHEAT NOT A SHEAF OF SEPARATE BARLEY STALKS LOOSELY BOUND BUT A "UNION" - LOAF SYMBOLIZED A HOMOGENEOUS BODY OF JEWS AND GREEKS AND THUS A PICTURE OF THE CHURCH. THE BAPTISM OF THE SPIRIT UNITED THE 120 INTO ONE "ORGANISM" - cf 1 Cor 12:12-13) made of two-tenths of an ephah; they shall be of a fine flour, baked with leaven as first fruits to the LORD. 18 ‘Along with the bread you shall present seven one year old male lambs without defect, and a bull of the herd and two rams; they are to be a burnt offering to the LORD, with their grain offering and their drink offerings, an offering by fire of a soothing aroma to the LORD. 19 ‘You shall also offer one male goat for a sin offering and two male lambs one year old for a sacrifice of peace offerings. 20 ‘The priest shall then wave them with the bread of the first fruits for a wave offering with two lambs before the LORD; they are to be holy to the LORD for the priest. 21 ‘On this same day you shall make a proclamation as well; you are to have a holy convocation. You shall do no laborious work. It is to be a perpetual statute in all your dwelling places throughout your generations.  (Lev 23:15-21+, cf Nu 28:26-31, Dt 16:9-12)

Wiersbe on the significance of the two loaves of bread - On the Feast of Firstfruits, the priest waved a sheaf of grain before the Lord; but on Pentecost, he presented two loaves of bread. Why? Because at Pentecost, the Holy Spirit baptized the believers and united them into one body. The Jewish believers received this baptism at Pentecost, and the Gentile believers in the home of Cornelius (Acts 10). This explains the presence of two loaves of bread (see 1 Cor. 10:17). The fact that there was leaven (yeast) in the loaves indicates the presence of sin in the church on earth. The church will not be perfect until it gets to heaven. (Bible Exposition Commentary )

Guzik adds that "Jewish tradition also taught that Pentecost marked the day when the Law was given to Israel. The Jews sometimes called Pentecost shimchath torah, or “Joy of the Law.” On the Old Testament Day of Pentecost Israel received the Law; on the New Testament Day of Pentecost the Church received the Spirit of Grace in fullness."  (Acts 2 Commentary)

Longnecker - The Spirit’s coming signals the essential difference between the Jewish faith and commitment to Jesus, for whereas the former is Torah centered and Torah directed, the latter is Christ centered and Spirit directed. 

Wiersbe - The calendar of Jewish feasts in Leviticus 23 is an outline of the work of Jesus Christ. Passover pictures His death as the Lamb of God (John 1:29; 1 Cor. 5:7), and the Feast of Firstfruits pictures His resurrection from the dead (1 Cor. 15:20–23). Fifty days after Firstfruits is the Feast of Pentecost, which pictures the formation of the church. At Pentecost, the Jews celebrated the giving of the Law, but Christians celebrate it because of the giving of the Holy Spirit to the church. (Bible Exposition Commentary )

William Barclay - The feast itself was significant in two ways. (1) It had a historical significance. It commemorated the giving of the law to Moses on Mount Sinai. (2) It had an agricultural significance. At the Passover, part of the first crop of barley was offered to God; and at Pentecost two loaves were offered in gratitude for the safe gathering in of the harvest. It had one other unique characteristic. The law laid it down that on that day people should not do their everyday work (Leviticus 23:21; Numbers 28:26). So it was a holiday for everyone, and the crowds on the streets would be greater than ever. (Acts 2 Commentary)

Freeman adds that the design of the Feast of Weeks "was primarily to give an expression of gratitude to God for the harvest which had been gathered; but the Jews assert, that in addition to this, it was intended to celebrate the giving of the law on Sinai, which took place fifty days after the Passover. Maimonides says that the reason why the feast occupied but one day was because that was all the time occupied in giving the law." (Borrow Manners & Customs of the Bible)

Spurgeon comments on the relationship between giving of Law to Moses and giving of the Spirit -  If you will count the days, you will find that it was exactly fifty days after the original Passover that the law was given on Mount Sinai. Many careful readers have observed this, but have feared to attach importance to the fact because the Jews did not connect it with Pentecost. Now we assert that as the inauguration of the law was on Pentecost, so also was the inauguration of the Gospel. At the commencement of the Old Testament dispensation, what manifestation do we get? God gives his people a law. At the commencement of the New Testament dispensation, what do we get? A law? No, the Lord gives his people the Spirit. That is a very different matter. Under the old covenant the command was given; but under the new covenant the will and the power to obey are bestowed upon us by the Holy Spirit. No more have we the law upon stone, but the Spirit writes the precept upon the fleshy tablets of the heart. Moses on the mount can only tell us what to do, but Jesus ascended on high pours out the power to do it. Now we are not under the law, but under grace, and the Spirit is our guiding force. In the church of God our rule is not according to the letter of a law, but according to the Spirit of the Lord. Some people look for a specific ordinance for every item of procedure on the part of the church, but, so far as I can see, there is a singular absence of written rule and ritual concerning particulars, apart from the two great standing ordinances. I do believe that under this dispensation saints are left to the freedom of the Spirit, and are not specifically commanded in every detail by a written law. Neither this form of church government, nor that is forced upon us, but life is permitted to assume its own necessary form, under the molding power of the Holy Spirit. (from his sermon on Acts 2:1 - Pentecost)



1st Month = Nisan
Festival of Passover

3rd Month = Sivan
Feast of Pentecost


7th Month = Tishri
Festival of Booths



First Fruits
Reshit Katzir)

Feast of Weeks =
Festival of the Harvest of the First Fruits


of Trumpets

Day of

of Booths

Lamb's blood on Door
Ex 12:6-7

Purging Leaven (Sin)

Wave Offering (Promise of Harvest to come)
(Usually barley)

Wave Offering of two loaves of leavened bread (promise of harvest to come)

Trumpet Blown - A Holy Convocation

Atonement shall be made to cleanse you
Lev 16:30

Celebrates harvest, memorial of God's care in wilderness

1st Month, 14th Day
Lev 23:5

1st Month, 15th Day
Lev 23:6-8
(1st & 8th are Sabbath)

Day after Sabbath
Lev 23:9-14
(Dt 26:5-10)

50 Days after first fruits
Lev 23:14-21
Ex 34:22

7th Month, 1st Day
Lev 23:23-25
(A Sabbath)

7th Month, 10th Day
Lev 23:26-32
(A Sabbath)

7th Mo, 15th Day
7 Days;
Convocation on 8th Day Lev 23:33-44
(1st & 8th are Sabbath)

Christ our Passover has been sacrificed

Clean out the old leaven… just as you are in fact unleavened

Christ has been raised… the first fruits

Promise of the Spirit, Mystery of Church - Jews and Gentiles in one body

Regathering of Israel before final day of atonement
Jeremiah 32:37-41+

Israel repents and looks to Christ in one day
Zech 3:9-10 
Zech 12:10+
Zech 13:1+ 
Zech 14:9+

All families come to Jerusalem for Feast of Booths
Zech 14:16-19+

1 Cor 5:7

1 Cor 5:7-8

1 Cor 15:20-23

Acts 2:1-4, 5-47+
1 Cor 12:13
Eph 2:11-12


Ezekiel 36:24+

Ezekiel 36:25-27
Hebrews 9-10
Ro 11:25-29

Ezekiel 36:28+

Comments on the chart The Seven Great Feasts of Israel

First Fruits -  

Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, 10 “Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, ‘When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf (Heb = omer) of the first fruits (Heb = reshith) of your harvest to the priest. 11 ‘He shall wave (NORTH, SOUTH, EAST THEN WEST = SYMBOLIZES DEDICATION OF THE HARVEST TO YAHWEH) the sheaf before the LORD for (PURPOSE) you to be accepted (ratson/rason); on the day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it (USUALLY BARLEY - THE FIRST TO RIPEN). 12 ‘Now on the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb one year old without defect for a burnt offering ('olah) to the LORD. 13 ‘Its grain offering shall then be two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour mixed with oil, an offering by fire to the LORD for a soothing aroma, with its drink offering, a fourth of a hin of wine. 14 (ONLY AFTER THE WAVE OFFERING ‘Until this same day, until you have brought in the offering of your God, you shall eat neither bread nor roasted grain nor new growth. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places.  (Lev 23:9-14+)

In (Dt 26:5-10) the Feast of First Fruits is associated with remembrance of Israel's deliverance from Egyptian bondage.

The day following the first day of Unleavened Bread is called Reshit Katzir "the beginning of the harvest" or Yom HaBikkurim, "the Day of Firstfruits." In ancient times, on this day a sheaf (omer) of barley (the first grain crop to ripen) was waved before the Lord in a prescribed ceremony which initiated the 49 day countdown to the jubilee harvest festival of Shavuot. The Feast of Firstfruits took place on the day after the Sabbath following Passover, which means it was always on the first day of the week because the Sabbath is the seventh day.

At this appointed time Israel was to acknowledge in their hearts and confess before witnesses that the fruits of their labor were a grace-gift from the Almighty, Who is the source of all material and spiritual wealth, and that they no longer lived as slaves in bondage but as free citizens in God’s kingdom (cf Dt 26:5-10+). First fruits was also a type or shadow of the Messiah, and was fulfilled with the resurrection of Jesus. Paul writes

"But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep....But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming,Testament refers to the resurrected Jesus as the firstfruits of those who will be resurrected (1 Cor. 15:20,23+).

In Paul's teaching  we see the resurrection of Jesus is linked to the historic Feast of Firstfruits. The Gospels tell us that “After the Sabbath, as the first day of the week began to dawn, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to see the tomb” (Mt. 28:1). Keep in mind that according to Leviticus 23:11, the Feast of Firstfruits was to be observed on the first day after the Sabbath of Passover. Firsthand reports about the resurrection tell us that Jesus rose from the grave on Sunday, the first day of the week after the seventh-day Sabbath. Jesus rose from the dead not on just any day. The reality as it played out was not coincidentally on the first day of the week; rather the Messiah rose according to God’s intentional design in order to fulfill the holy Torah. He rose on HaBikkurim—the Feast of Firstfruits. His resurrection was a promise of the life and everlasting freedom that would come to all who believed in Him. Of the Feast of Firstfruits Alfred Edersheim says, “Each family, and every individual separately acknowledged, by the yearly presentation of the firstfruits, a living relationship between them and God, in virtue of which they gratefully received at His hands all they had or enjoyed, and solemnly dedicated both it and themselves to the Lord.” How much more, then, is this true for those who confess Jesus as Messiah! Those who believe in Jesus can gratefully see Him as the resurrected Firstfruit of the eternal harvest that God has promised to those who trust Him, and rest assured that because He rose from the dead, they too will one day rise from the dead as a firstfruits offering to Jehovah. Now if that doesn't make you shout "Hallelujah! Thank You Jesus!" nothing will!

Counting The Sheaves (Sefirat HaOmer - see interesting explanation) Leviticus 23:15 says "You shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed." This commandment is not a holiday as such, but it represents a process still observed among Orthodox, Conservative, and Messianic Jewish synagogues. Together these groups obey the commandment to count the passage of time, day by day, from the Feast of Firstfruits to the next major biblical feast: Shavuot. Shavuot, which will be discussed in greater detail in the next section, is also known as Pentecost, and it falls exactly 50 days after the Feast of Firstfruits.

In synagogues and in Jewish homes the observant Hebrew greets each evening (the beginning of the Jewish day) with special prayers to mark off the days until Shavuot.   This observance is not a countdown, but an anticipation of the coming appointed time of God. During this time Psalm 119 is read in the synagogues as observant Jewish people meditate on its words of encouragement.

An attitude of anticipation can also be seen in a prayer recited every evening during the Counting of the Sheaves: “May it be Your will, Lord our God, and the God of our forefathers, that in the merit of the omer count that I have counted today, may there be corrected whatever blemish I have caused . . . and may I be cleansed and sanctified with the holiness of Above.”

The observant Jewish man or woman looks to these days as a time of introspection, with the nightly prayers helping to examine his or her life, in anticipation of the great work he expects the Creator to do on the 50th day, the Day of Pentecost.

Leviticus 23:15 instructs the celebrants to be mindful of the passage of time from Passover to Pentecost, the 49 intermediary days. Some rabbis teach that this time is like waiting for a friend who is coming from afar for a special visit, bearing with him great news. Certainly in the biblical history of the apostles, the 49 days between Pesach  and Shavuot were spent in fellowship with and being taught by the resurrected Messiah. But He left them with the promise that a unique Counselor would come. And a very intimate friend did visit on Shavuot—the Holy Spirit. 

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Had come is translated "fully come" in the KJV and could be translated fulfilled. The verb sumpleroo is present tense, passive voice so it could be paraphrased "when the day of Pentecost was being fulfilled, they were all together in one place." 

Curtis Vaughn on had come ("being fulfilled") - Some think the allusion is to the fact that the day, according to Jewish reckoning, had begun at the previous sunset, and thus in the early morning could not be said to be either fulfilled or past but could only be described as in the process of “being fulfilled” (cf. Knowling). Others (e.g., Hackett) suppose that the expression refers to the completing of the interval of time between Passover and Pentecost. Still others see in the words a reference to the arrival of God’s appointed time for the advent of the Spirit (cf. Lenski). (Acts)

Vincent adds that sumpleroo in Acts 2:1 is "Used by Luke only. Lit., "was being fulfilled." The day, according to the Hebrew mode, is conceived as a measure to be filled up. So long as the day had not yet arrived, the measure was not full. The words denote in process of fulfillment." (Word Studies in the New Testament)

Robertson adds that sumpleroo, had come, "is a Hebrew idiom (Exodus 7:25) and Luke may mean that the day of Pentecost was not yet over, was still going on." (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

McGee interprets had come to signify that "that Pentecost, which Israel had been celebrating for many generations, was fulfilled."

Had come (4845)(sumpleroo from sún = an intens. + pleróo = to fill) to fill to the brim, fill completely. Used only in the passive in the NT. In the literal sense described the boat becoming filled completely with water (the boat in Luke 8:23 [cf. Mark 4:37]). Figuratively sumpleroo speaks of time which has arrived and is "the timely moment for an event to take place" (BDAG) and so to be fulfilled or fully come (Luke 9:51; Acts 2:1). The shadow (type), the Feast of Pentecost, was described in Lv 23:15-21  and in Acts 2:1ff  we see the fulfillment (sumpleroo) of the OT "shadow".

There are only 3 uses in the NT and none in the Septuagint.  

Luke 8:23  But as they were sailing along He fell asleep; and a fierce gale of wind descended upon the lake, and they began to be swamped and to be in danger.

Luke 9:51 And it came about, when the days were approaching for His ascension, that He resolutely set His face to go to Jerusalem

Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.

C H Spurgeon introduces his expository notes on Colossians with the following statement...

We cannot too often read the story of that wondrous outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost; and let as never read it without asking the Lord to manifest in our midst the fulness of the Spirit’s power. We may not have a repetition of the miraculous gifts which were then bestowed upon the apostles and those who were with them; but we may have that gracious influence which shall convince and convert those who gather to hear the Word. Our success in preaching the Word is entirely dependent upon the presence and working of the Holy Spirit; therefore, let our prayer be,—

      “Lord God, the Holy Ghost,
         In this accepted hour,
      As on the day of Pentecost,
         Descend in all thy power.

      “The young, the old inspire
         With wisdom from above;
      And give us hearts and tongues of fire,
         To pray, and praise, and love.”

The first lesson that we ought to learn from this inspired record of what happened on the day of Pentecost is, that we cannot expect a revival until there, is unity among Christians. The Spirit of God will not visit and bless a church where there is strife. These disciples in Jerusalem “were all with one accord in one place” “in prayer and supplication,” as the fourteenth verse of the previous chapter tells us (see Acts 1:14+).

Luke has just recorded

These (11 Disciples - Acts 1:13) all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.  15 At this time Peter stood up in the midst of the brethren (a gathering of about one hundred and twenty persons was there together), and said, (Acts 1:14-15+).

They were all together in one place - Luke does not tell us the place, but most think it was probably the same upper room in which Jesus had celebrated the Last Supper with His disciples. Another reasonable consideration is the Temple because Luke records that after Jesus' ascension, they "were continually in the temple praising God." (Lk 24:53+) In addition, the word house (oikos) in Acts 2:2 is used of the Temple (cf "Solomon who built a house [oikos] for Him." Acts 7:47). Notice that as far as we can discern from Scripture, Jesus did not instruct them to all be together in one place, but to wait in Jerusalem, so why were they all together in one place? Most likely because on this day, fifty days after the Passover, they were together to celebrate the Feast of Weeks, the Pentecost. And as discussed below, while these 120 were physically all together, even more importantly they were spiritually all together and would soon be united forever in one spiritual body, the Church, the Body of Christ, when they were baptized with the Holy Spirit. 

The question that we might ask is why they were all together in one place? What were they doing? In a word, they were obeying. They were obeying their Lord's instruction to "wait" (Acts 1:4). This may seem like a small point, but it is actually a very big point. What is the point? What does waiting in obedience for what the Father had promised imply? And the obvious answer is their waiting was a clear reflection of their trust in the the Word of God. They believed what Jesus had said and what He had instructed them to do. And so they waited. The waited day after day after day until the tenth day. What would have happened if they become weary of waiting? Beloved, do we have their kind of faith, faith which is willing to wait on the Lord in order to receive His promises, which in the case of Acts 2 was His supernatural power for service? Or do we run ahead in our service depending on our own natural power? This is an axiomatic Biblical truth as is clearly stated in Isaiah 40:31+

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength (THE PICTURE IS TO EXCHANGE THEIR STRENGTH FOR GOD'S STRENGTH!); They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.

Lord, we pray the prayer of David...

Make me know Thy ways, O LORD; Teach me Thy paths. Lead me in Thy truth and teach me, For Thou art the God of my salvation; For Thee I WAIT all the day. (Ps 25:4-5). Amen.

All together - While the Textus Receptus has homothumadon, some of the best Greek texts have "pantes (all) homou (together)."

All together (3661)(homothumadon/homothymadon from a combination of homos = same + thumos/thymos = temperament or mind) means with one mind, unity of mind, with one purpose, with unanimous consent, of one accord. In a word it means together (Webster says "together" means "in company, in union, in the same place, in the same time, in concert, as the allies made war upon France together.") One lexicon says homothumadon means "to be of one soul." It speaks of an action agreed upon unanimously (with one impulse) or by common consent. Homothumadon was frequently used in secular settings to describe the unanimity of a synod, of creditors, of a husband and wife, of brother (TLNT, Moulton and Milligan) What a glorious picture of the birth of the church! 

Webster defines unanimity as "Agreement of a number of persons in opinion or determination; as, there was perfect unanimity among the members of the council."

Ray Pritchard - The word is homothumadon, which the King James translates with the lovely phrase “in one accord.” It’s a musical term that means to strike the same notes together (Ed: More accurately it is the word "accord" which is the meaning of homothumadon which is a musical term. But Pritchard's application is still appropriate.). We all know what it is to listen to a choir sing and the music is lovely and lilting and then without warning, someone hits a wrong note. The discordant sound sticks out like a sore thumb. When the early church prayed, there were no “wrong notes"–no ugly attitudes, no pointing fingers, no pity parties, no gossipy stories, no secrets told behind closed doors. When people don’t like each other, they can’t pray together very long. Either you’ll stop criticizing or you’ll stop praying because you can’t do both at the same time."

You can mark it down that where there is homothumadon among believers, the Holy Spirit is present and active! (Cp Eph 4:4-note, see also Acts 15:25 and Acts 15:28 where being of one mind is associated with the Spirit) And the converse also applies - without the Holy Spirit energizes saints, uniting hearts, there is the potential for discord and disharmony because of our fallen flesh. "Harmonious" saints are surely Spirit filled saints!

Alan Carr - While we cannot duplicate the events of that day, we can duplicate the conditions that existed among the people of God on that day. We can see the Lord move in our midst in power and glory in these days, just as He moved in those days. I believe that we need another Pentecost! When we create an atmosphere like the one that existed in the church on that day, we will see Him move in power among us in these days. One of the striking characteristics of the early church in the day of Pentecost was that they were together “with one accord”. The word “accord” means “to have one mind.” These early disciples, all 120, Acts 1:15, were united in their desire to seek the face of the Lord, Acts 1:14! Unity was the calling card of the early church, and it should mark us as well. If we want the Lord's presence and power in these days, then God's people are going to have walk together in unity. We Need Another Pentecost! We need a move of God in these days like the early church enjoyed in those days. But, if that is to happen, there must be unity among God's people. Let's me show the ways in which the early church was united. We should seek unity in the same areas. The fourth of the annual feasts of the Jews (after Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits), it came 50 days after First Fruits (a type of the resurrection of Christ, 1Co 15:23). Pentecost was the Greek name for the Jewish Feast of Weeks, so called because it fell seven (a week of) weeks after First Fruits. It celebrated the wheat harvest (Ex23:16). This Day of Pentecost in Acts 2 marked the beginning of the church (Mt 16:18). (Acts 2:1-8 We Need Another Pentecost)

Henry Morris of the Day of Pentecost.  "Pentecost," meaning "fifty days," was a festival observed fifty days after the feast of firstfruits, which was held on a sabbath day. The feast of firstfruits (Leviticus 23:9-14) was actually prophetic of the resurrection of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:20), which also had taken place on the first day of the week. Thus, Pentecost was held on the first day of the week, and it was on such a day that the Holy Spirit came to indwell the church. Quite possibly, this fact played a part in the gradual adoption by the churches of the first day of the week as their regular day of rest and worship (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 16:2). The weekly observance of the sabbath was in commemoration of the completion of God's work of creation (Genesis 2:1-3; Exodus 20:8-11), but God's great work of redemption was now also completed (John 19:30). Thus, by observing their weekly "sabbath day" or "rest day" on the first day of the week, they would be honoring the completion of both God's work of creation and His work of redemption. Pentecost also commemorated the giving of the law at Mount Sinai, which occurred fifty days after the Passover (Exodus 12:6; 19:1,11). (Borrow The Defender's Study Bible

Gotquestions on Pentecost compared to the Last Supper -  

  • Pentecost is reminiscent of the Last Supper; in both instances the disciples are together in a house for what proves to be an important event.
  • At the Last Supper the disciples witness the end of the Messiah’s earthly ministry as He asks them to remember Him after His death until He returns.
  • At Pentecost, the disciples witness the birth of the New Testament church in the coming of the Holy Spirit to indwell all believers. Thus the scene of the disciples in a room at Pentecost links the commencement of the Holy Spirit’s work in the church with the conclusion of Christ’s earthly ministry in the upper room before the crucifixion. (Reference)

Spurgeon - How absolutely necessary is the presence and power of the Holy Spirit! It is not possible for us to promote the glory of God or to bless the souls of men, unless the Holy Spirit shall be in us and with us. Those who were assembled on that memorable day of Pentecost, were all men of prayer and faith; but even these precious gifts are only available when the celestial fire sets them on a blaze. They were all men of experience; most of them had been preachers of the Word and workers of miracles; they had endured trials and troubles in company with their Lord, and had been with him in his temptation. Among them were the apostles and the seventy evangelists, and with them were those honoured women in whose houses the Lord had often been entertained, and who had ministered to him of their substance; yet even these favoured and honoured saints can do nothing without the breath of God the Holy Spirit. Apostles and evangelists dare not even attempt anything alone; they must tarry at Jerusalem till power be given them from on high. It was not a want of education; they had been for three years in the college of Christ, with perfect wisdom as their tutor, matchless eloquence as their instructor, and immaculate perfection as their example; yet they must not venture to open their mouths to testify of the mystery of Jesus, until the anointing Spirit has come with blessed unction from above. Surely if so it was with them, much more must it be the case with us. (from Sermon 511 - Pentecost)

Acts 2:2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

  • suddenly (KJV): Ac 16:25,26 Isa 65:24 Mal 3:1 Lu 2:13 
  • as (KJV): 1Ki 19:11 Ps 18:10 Song 4:16 Eze 3:12,13 37:9,10 Joh 3:8 
  • it (KJV): Ac 4:31 
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Amplified  When suddenly there came a sound from heaven like the rushing of a violent tempest blast, and it filled the whole house in which they were sitting. 

ESV  And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.

KJV  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

NET  Suddenly a sound like a violent wind blowing came from heaven and filled the entire house where they were sitting.

NIV  Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.

NLT  Suddenly, there was a sound from heaven like the roaring of a mighty windstorm, and it filled the house where they were sitting.

YLT  and there came suddenly out of the heaven a sound as of a bearing violent breath, and it filled all the house where they were sitting,


Jesus had promised they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit and in Acts 2:1-4 Luke describes the baptism. It is interesting to note that the beginning of Jesus' earthly ministry was marked by the coming of the Spirit upon Him (Lk 3:21-22+), while in Acts the beginning of the ministry of the disciples of Jesus (and His spiritual Body, the Church) is marked by baptism with the Spirit (Acts 2:1-4). And just as Jesus' ministry needed to be empowered by the Spirit (cf Lk 4:1+, "Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit," = Lk 4:14+, "THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME" = Lk 4:18+, Acts 10:38), so too the disciples needed the power of the Spirit of Jesus to minister in His Name. John the Baptist had prophesied that Jesus would "baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." (Lk 3:16+). And so here in Acts 2 we see the ascended Christ sending His Spirit (Jn 15:26, 16:7) and baptizing His disciples so that they might "receive power" which would enable them to be His witnesses "to the remotest part of the earth." (Acts 1:8+)

George Ladd - “Whenever baptism with the Spirit is mentioned after Pentecost, it is never an experience of believers who have already been baptized once with the Spirit but only of new groups of people who are brought to faith in Christ.” (Borrow A theology of the New Testament)

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And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind - The people did not feel the wind, but heard the sound. It was a sound like a wind but there was no wind. And it came with suddenness, without warning, which would have taken the disciples by surprise. This supernatural sound sign like a wind is interesting because the disciples had already been told to expect the Spirit "not many days" after Jesus' ascended (Acts 1:4-5+), but this supernatural sound sign still caught the 120 by surprise. The source of the noise is from heaven, sent from Heaven by Christ (cf Mt 3:11 = Jesus "will baptize you with the Holy Spirit") Who had just returned to Heaven (Acts 1:11+). McGee says "It sounded like a tornado, and I believe that all of Jerusalem could hear it." Since it was described as a noise and as violent, it is possible that it was heard outside of the room they were in and this accounts for the crowd that heard them speaking in other languages as described in the following passages.

Kistemaker -  One important aspect of the coming of the Holy Spirit is the suddenness of his appearance. Although, as they were instructed, the disciples stay in Jerusalem to wait for the outpouring of the Spirit, nonetheless his sudden arrival is surprising. Christ’s followers will experience a similar situation when Jesus suddenly returns. Despite the signs of the times Jesus reveals to his people, his return will be surprising and unexpected. (Baker NT Commentary: Acts)

Wind often was used as a symbol of God’s presence (2 Sa 5:24; Ps. 104:3, etc.) and here signifies not only His presence but His power.

Boice on the description in Acts 2:2 - That sounds very much like the story of the Spirit of God hovering over the waters of the earth at creation (Ge 1:1-2). So the suggestion is that here, in Acts, we have a new creation—as important (more important in many ways) as the original creation of the heavens and the earth. That heaven and earth are destined to pass away, but what is done by the Spirit at Pentecost is eternal. Again, the account in Acts sounds like Genesis 2:7, where God breathes life into man. Pentecost is a life-breathing experience. The account is also like John 3:7-8, where Jesus told Nicodemus, “You must be born again.” Obviously the coming of the Holy Spirit as a violent wind was meant to symbolize the coming of the creative power of God to inaugurate a new era in which men and women should be brought to spiritual life. (Ibid)

Jewish pastor Steve Kreloff explains the noise "First of all, this is obviously the fulfillment of Christ's promise to the disciples that they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit and at the same time indwelt and empowered by Him....the disciples couldn't miss this is the promised arrival of the Holy Spirit...what they are waiting for...and they would have understood this especially since both the Hebrew and Greek words for "spirit" and "wind" are the same words (Hebrew = ruach; Greek = pneuma - see definition #5, cf Jn 3:8)! There is no way they would have missed the significance of this (noise like wind). The Holy Spirit had arrived in the form of a mighty sounding noise like wind echoing throughout the whole house. This is the One they had been waiting for and now He had arrived. He had arrived in the symbolic form of powerful sounding violent wind, indicating the empowering of the Spirit of God in their lives (THAT IS A REASONABLE ASSUMPTION BUT IS NOT CLEARLY STATED). Notice what Luke tells us, because contrary to what one might initially think, Luke is NOT saying the disciples FELT a violent, storm-like wind...but only that they heard a noise like a violent rushing wind (like winds from a hurricane except there was no hurricane winds but just noise)....What happened to the disciples, happened suddenly which is significant...In telling us this, we see the disciples were obviously surprised by the Spirit's arrival. You may wonder how could they have caught by surprise? They knew He was coming but they did not know exactly when and they did not know "HOW" He was coming, in such a dramatic fashion." 

Adrian Rogers said it well...

Being baptized with the Holy Spirit — means He is now Resident in your heart.

Being filled with the Holy Spirit — means He is now President there.

The Holy Spirit never leaves a surrendered vessel unfilled or unused.

W. H. Griffith Thomas - I believe baptism in the Holy Ghost is exactly on the same plane as baptism in water—we never need to repeat it.

Noise (blast, roaring)(2279)(echos gives us English "echo") which A T Robertson says is "Old word, already in Luke 4:37 for rumour (report) and Luke 21:25 for the roar of the sea. It was not wind, but a roar or reverberation "as of the rushing of a mighty wind". This is not a strict translation nor is it the genitive absolute. It was "an echoing sound as of a mighty wind borne violently" (or rushing along like the whir of a tornado)." (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2Echos means  (1) a sound, noise (Acts 2.2 = "noise like a violent rushing wind" Heb 12.19 "blast of a trumpet") (1a) spoken of the roar of the sea waves (Lk 21.25) (2) rumour, report, news (Lk 4.37 = "the report about Him was spreading")

Vincent adds that "Echos was the medical term for sound in the ears or head. Hippocrates uses both words together: "the ears (ἀκοαὶ) are full of sound (ἤχου);" and Aretaeus of the noise of the sea, as Luke 21:25." (Word Studies in the New Testament)

Suddenly (869)(aphno) is an adjective/adverb which means suddenly, all of a sudden, immediately (at once).  BDAG says aphno relates "to a very brief interval between a state or event that precedes and one that follows." Aphno is used 3x in the NT and 6x in the Septuagint. It describes Joshua coming on the enemy suddenly (Josh 10:9), of dread coming on one like a storm (suddenly) (Pr 1:27), of man's appointed time (his death) which will suddenly fall on them (Eccl 9:12), of the sudden disaster that would fall on Jerusalem (Jer 18:22), of the sudden fall of Babylon (Jer 51:8, cp Da 5:26, 27, 28, 31-note). Here are the 3 NT uses describing 3 sudden events - Spirit's coming at Pentecost, a great earthquake liberating Paul and Silas from prison (note it came after their praise and worship service!), and the sudden demise of Paul which was expected after he was bitten by a viper.

Acts 2:2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.

Acts 16:26 and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were unfastened.

Acts 28:6 But they were expecting that he was about to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had waited a long time and had seen nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god.

Violent (972)(biaios from bía = violence, impetus, force) means strong, forcible. In secular Greek used to describe "violent death." This is the only NT use of biaios, but it is used 6 times in the Septuagint - Ex. 14:21; Job 34:6; Ps. 48:7; Isa. 11:15; 58:6; 59:19. The use in Exodus is in the context of the Red Sea crossing where "Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the LORD swept the sea back by a strong (Heb = az - mighty; Lxx = biaios) east wind all night and turned the sea into dry land, so the waters were divided." (Ex 14:21) The use in Isaiah is also notable...

 Isaiah 59:19  So they will fear the name of the LORD from the west And His glory from the rising of the sun, For He will come like a rushing stream (Lxx uses biaios = "the wrath of the Lord shall come as a mighty river") Which the wind of the LORD drives."

Comment - So in Acts 2:1 biaios is used to describe the coming of the Holy Spirit. Isaiah 59:19-20 describes the triumphant return of the One called "Faithful and True" and "the Word of God" (Rev 19:11-16), the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus Christ. Indeed His coming will be like a "mighty river" when He returns to "wash away" sinners who have been arrayed against Him (cp Rev 19:17-21). The coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2:1 on the other hand was to provide power that men might be able to witness to the ends of the earth so that sinners are saved from the wrath to come. (Acts 1:8, 1 Th 1:10).

LIke (term of comparison) a violent rushing ("like a violent wind blowing) - Rushing is the verb phero in the present tensepassive voice meaning continually being driven or moved. Have you ever been in a tornado? If you have then you can imagine the sound the 120 persons heard which was like a violent wind blowing. If you have not been in a tornado (hopefully you have not), then listen to the sound of this tornado video - Woe! Now that sounds like a violent wind! But note again it was a sound like a violent rushing but it was not actual wind. This is a supernatural sound, like a blast of God's breath (see pnoe below, esp uses in Lxx).

J Vernon McGee - “A friend of my daughter lives in Kansas and went through the experience of a tornado. It did not destroy their home but came within two blocks of it. When she wrote about it to my daughter, she said, ‘The first thing we noticed was a sound like a thousand freight trains coming into town.’ Friend, that was a rushing, mighty wind, and that was the sound. It was that kind of sound that they heard on the Day of Pentecost." (Thru the Bible)

MacArthur suggests that "It is the very blast of God’s breath.  It reaches the earth all the way from heaven.  This is the baptism of the Holy Spirit that Jesus said would happen in a few days.  The sound was heard all over.  The sound surely gathered the massive crowd that shows up to which Peter preached. But the presence of the breath of God filled only the house.  The sound from heaven is like a hurricane, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.  They were completely engulfed, completely immersed, completely baptized.  That’s what that word is intended to convey.  You can actually translate it the immersing with the Holy Spirit.  Literally being engulfed with the Holy Spirit.  This is the coming of the breath of God. 

Wind (4157)(pnoe from pneo = to breathe, blow) is used only twice in the NT, meaning wind (Acts 2.2) and breath in (Acts 17.25). Liddell-Scott says pnoe means a blowing, blast, breeze ("swift as blasts of wind", "the blast of bellows"). Of animals, a breathing hard, of horses Gilbrant - In the Septuagint pnoē most often translates nᵉshāmāh, “breath,” though a few times it translates rûach, “breath, wind, spirit.” At least once pnoē translates rûach when the latter means “spirit” (Pr 11:13, one who is “faithful in spirit”). When pnoē has nᵉshāmāh behind it, the term refers to the breath or wind that comes from God, or simply to the breath that is in man, i.e., the life-giving force (Genesis 2:7). Often the breath in mankind is recognized as the breath of God (cf. Job 32:8; 33:4), or at least the breath that comes from Him. In this way pnoē is synonymous with pneuma, though far less frequently found in the Septuagint. (Complete Biblical Library - Incredible Resource)

Pnoe - 26x in 26v in the Septuagint - Gen. 2:7 = "breath of life"; Gen. 7:22; 2 Sam. 22:16 = "blast of breath of His nostrils"; 1 Ki. 15:29; Neh. 6:1; Job 26:4; Job 27:3; Job 32:8 = "the breath of the Almighty gives them understanding"; Job 33:4 = "“The Spirit of God has made me, And the breath of the Almighty gives me life."; Job 37:10; Ps. 150:6 = "Let everything that has breath praise the LORD"; Prov. 1:23; Prov. 11:13; Prov. 20:27; Prov. 24:12; Isa. 38:16; Isa. 42:5; Isa. 57:16; Ezek. 13:13; Dan. 5:23; Dan. 10:17

And it filled the whole house where they were sitting - Like wind would fill the house the noise filled the house. But it was not a wind, so this would have signified to these 120 that it was a supernatural phenomenon. While Jesus did not say the Spirit's coming would be accompanied by this sign, surely the believers must have been thinking that this is that which Jesus had promised. Indeed, this was the auditory sign of the Spirit's arrival, the next verse describing the visual sign of the Spirit's arrival. Together, these two signs constitute the fulfillment of Jesus' promise that the disciples would be baptized with the Spirit (Acts 1:5+). Notice the word "baptized" does not occur in Acts 2, but the only the description of the baptism. Baptized is the Greek verb  baptizo which means literally to submerge or immerse into something. Figuratively, baptizo means to be identified with. In this case the believers were (so to speak) immersed in Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:13, cf Gal 3:2-5+), Who in turn took up residence in the body of each and every believer, and in so doing identified each believer with the Head of the Church, Jesus Christ, and forming the spiritual Body of Christ on earth (1 Cor 12:12-14). When the believers were identified with the Spirit, there was a change in their basic nature because the verb "baptizo" was used in secular Greek to indicate a change of identity associated with the "immersing" (eg it was used of a cucumber dipped into vinegar changing its identity to a pickle). Their new individual identity is as temples of the indwelling Spirit (1 Cor 6:19+) and their new corporate identity is the Body of Christ, the Church.

Warren Wiersbe adds this helpful explanation on the baptism with the Holy Spirit - When you read about “baptism” in the New Testament, you must exercise discernment to determine whether the word is to be interpreted literally or symbolically. For example, in Romans 6:3–4 and Galatians 3:27–28, the reference is symbolic since water baptism cannot put a sinner into Jesus Christ. Only the Holy Spirit can do that (Ro 8:9+; 1 Cor. 12:13; see Acts 10:44–48). Water baptism is a public witness of the person’s identification with Jesus Christ, while Spirit baptism is the personal and private experience that identifies the person with Christ. It is important to note that historically, the baptism of the Spirit took place in two stages: the Jewish believers were baptized at Pentecost, and the Gentiles were baptized and added to the body in the home of Cornelius (Acts 10:44–48; 11:15–17; and see Eph. 2:11–22+). (Bible Exposition Commentary )

Robertson on filled - "As a bath is filled with water, that they might be baptized with the Holy Ghost, in fulfillment of Acts 1:5" (Canon Cook). (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

Filled (4137)(pleroo) - the room was completely filled with the holy noise (see discussion of pleroo in Acts 2:4). In the context of this passage, the verb pleroo means to fill up the room fully with the sound like a violent rushing wind. The sense in Acts 2:4 is different, for there pleroo means to fill up each person in the sense of controlling them, this control being manifest by their ability to speak in foreign languages distinct from their native language (Hebrew or Aramaic). 

Spurgeon - No doubt this wind (NOTE: NOT AN ACTUAL "WIND" BUT LIKE A WIND. EVEN ASTUTE OBSERVERS LIKE SPURGEON OCCASIONALLY MISINTERPRET WHAT THE TEXT ACTUALLY SAYS - SEE IMPORTANCE OF THE SKILL OF OBSERVATION) was intended to show the irresistible power of the Holy Ghost, for simple as the air is, and apparently feeble, yet set it in motion, and you feel that a thing of life is among you. Make that motion more rapid, and who knows the power of the restless giant who has been awakened? See, it becomes a storm, a tempest, a hurricane, a tornado, a cyclone. (SO YES, WHILE THIS SOUND MAY HAVE BEEN GIVEN TO CONVEY A SENSE OF THE SPIRIT'S POWER, IT PRIMARILY WAS GIVEN AS A SIGN OF HIS PRESENCE, HIS ARRIVAL). 

Where they were sitting - Why this detail? Well, how did the Jews pray in the first century? Did they pray while sitting? Traditionally, Jews prayed either while standing or kneeling. So this description that they were sitting suggests that they were not praying at this time. You are probably still asking "So what?" The point is that the disciples were not praying for the Spirit arrive and baptize them. God was about to give the Spirit  not because they had prayed but because it was His sovereignly determined will and time. This small detail is important because there are many in charismatic circles or of a Pentecostal persuasion who teach that one must pray for the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Nowhere in the NT do we ever read of anyone seeking or praying to be baptized with the Holy Spirit! So if we are not to pray for the Spirit's baptism, how do we receive this baptism? The primary explanation of the baptism with the Spirit is found in 1Co 12:12-13+

For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body (BODY OF CHRIST), so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. 

Paul is explaining that the church is like a human body in the sense that it is one organism but it has many members. So the Body of Christ has many members, Jews and Gentiles who were baptized into Christ's body by the Spirit. The Spirit is the instrument by which we were placed into Christ's body, His Church. This is not something we need to pray for or seek. The only way Paul could say they were all baptized into the body is that he knew they were all baptized with the Spirit at the moment of conversion. Paul is teaching them that this is something that had already happened, not something they needed to seek. The baptism of the Spirit took place when they were converted. When you trusted Christ, you were baptized with the Holy Spirit. You very likely did not immediately feel anything or have any "experience" when God's Spirit transferred you from Satan's kingdom of darkness to Christ's kingdom of light (Col 1:13+, Acts 26:18+) When you were born again by the Spirit, not only were you placed into the body of Christ, the Spirit was placed into you. So now every believer, without exception, possesses the indwelling Holy Spirit for as Paul taught "you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him (i.e.,HE IS NOT A BELIEVER!). (Ro 8:9+). Note also that Paul asked the Corinthians "do you not know (IMPLYING THAT THEY DID KNOW!) that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit Who is in you, Whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?" (1 Cor 6:19+). I will never forget a young man who worked in the hospital laboratory where I was a pathologist. His name was Fred and he was a homosexual who was living in a long term relationship with another man. I actually did not even know he was gay and AIDS positive, but over a period of weeks I and another woman in the lab from a charismatic background both shared the Gospel with Fred who one day was gloriously saved. Almost immediately he moved out of his long term relationship and I began to disciple him at work. He was a man that had become so filled with the Spirit that his joy was irrepressible. He was a joy to disciple. Then one day he came in extremely distraught and downcast. When I asked why, he said that Linda, our charismatic sister in Christ, had told him that now he needed to pray to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He did and nothing happened and his discouragement soon led to disillusionment. It took several several weeks of counseling him from the Word of God to convince him that what Linda was advocating was not Scripturally sound teaching. I have since heard stories similar to this from our saints who were dealing with new believers who naturally were hungry for all that God could give them. So the fruit of this false teaching is not good. Pastor Steve Kreloff, a Jewish believing pastor, has an excellent message on this issue and at about 30' into the message relates his experiences which were similar to mine (The Day of Pentecost). Dear believer "See to it (blepo in the present imperative = command to continually be on the alert so) that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ." (Col 2:8+)

Note also that it is Christ Who does the baptizing, not the Spirit. 

Mt 3:11+ As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He (CHRIST) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

John 1:33+ I did not recognize Him, but He who sent me to baptize in water said to me, ‘He upon Whom you see the Spirit descending and remaining upon Him, this is the One (CHRIST) Who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.

Steven Cole has an additional note on the association of the Spirit and wind - In Ezekiel 37+, God commanded the prophet to prophesy to the winds to breathe on a valley of dry bones. When he did so, the breath of life came into them. God explains that He will put His Spirit within His people and they would come to life (Ezek. 37:9-14). In John 3, Jesus spoke to Nicodemus about the need to be born of the Spirit. He explained, “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but do not know where it comes from and where it is going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit” (Acts 3:8). The Holy Spirit, like the wind, is a mighty power, but we cannot see Him. We can only see His effects. One of His most powerful effects is when He imparts spiritual life to those who were dead in their sins. (The Meaning of Pentecost Acts 2:1-13)

Lehman Strauss on the wind and the Spirit - Wind is one of the emblems of the Spirit. The Greek language has but one word for “wind” and “spirit,” and they mean the same thing in that language. We shall cite two biblical illustrations which show the spiritual analogy between the wind and the Spirit. In Ezekiel 37, we have the prophet’s vision of the valley of dry bones, a prophecy which has to do primarily with Israel. Ezekiel was taken by God to see a valley filled with dry bones. Then God said to him, “Son of man, can these bones live? . . . Then said He unto me, Prophesy unto the wind, prophesy, son of man, and say to the wind, Thus saith the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. So I prophesied as He commanded, and the breath came into them, and they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army” (Ezekiel 37:1-10).  These four winds, which the prophet calls breath, are the divine breath of the Holy Spirit, the breath that caused the first man to live, when “the Lord God formed man of the dust of ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul” (Genesis 2:7). It is further testified to by Job, where he says, “The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life” (Job 33:4). When the Lord Jesus explained to Nicodemus about the operation of the Holy Spirit in regeneration, He said, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). The wind is a symbol of power, of life. It is not static. It stands for the Holy Spirit, the mightiest of all powers, apart from which no sinner, dead in trespasses and in sins, can ever be born again into the family of God. He is the energizing power that quickens men today. Apart from Him men remain spiritually dead.....The believer who is empowered for service must lose confidence in self (PETER PRE-PENTECOST) and depend wholly upon the Lord (PETER POST-PENTECOST).(Pentecost and the Holy Spirit)

Spurgeon on The Instructive Symbols of the Holy Spirit

There were two such symbols that were made prominent at Pentecost. There was a sound “as of a rushing mighty wind” (Acts 2:2), and there were “cloven tongues like as of fire” (Acts 2:3).

Take the symbols separately. The first is wind—an emblem of Deity and therefore a proper symbol of the Holy Spirit. Often in the Old Testament, God revealed Himself under the emblem of breath or wind; indeed, as most of you know, the Hebrew word for “wind” and “spirit” is the same. The Greek word is the same; when Christ talked to Nicodemus, it is not very easy for translators to tell us when He said “spirit” and when He said “wind.” Indeed, some most correctly render the original all the way through by the word “wind,” while others with much reason have also used the word “spirit” in their translations. The original word signified either the one or the other or both. Wind is, of all material things, one of the most spiritual in appearance. It is invisible, ethereal, mysterious; hence, men have fixed upon it as being the most nearly akin to spirit. In Ezekiel’s famous vision, when he saw the valley full of dry bones, we all know that the Spirit of God was intended by that vivifying wind which came when the prophet prophesied and blew upon the withered relics until they were quickened into life. “The LORD hath his way in the whirlwind” (Nah. 1:3), thus He displays Himself when He works. “The LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind” (Job 38:1), thus He reveals Himself when He teaches His servants.

Observe that this wind (NOTE THAT IT ACTUALLY WAS NOT A WIND BUT "LIKE" A WIND) on the day of Pentecost was accompanied with a sound—a sound “as of a rushing mighty wind” (Acts 2:2)—for although the Spirit of God can work in silence, in saving operations He frequently uses sound. I would be the last to depreciate meetings in which there is nothing but holy silence, for I could wish that we had more reverence for silence, and it is in stillness that the inner life is nourished. However, the Holy Spirit does not work for the advancement of the kingdom of God by silence alone, for “faith cometh by hearing” (Rom. 10:17).

There is a sound “as of a rushing mighty wind” (Acts 2:2) when the Word is sounded forth throughout whole nations by the publishing of the Gospel. The sound came on this occasion, no doubt, to call the attention of the assembly to what was about to occur, to arouse them, and to fill them with awe. There is something indescribably solemn about the rush of a rising tempest; it bows the soul before the sublime mystery of divine power. What more fitting as an attendant upon divine working than the deeply solemn rush of a mighty wind.

With this awe-inspiring sound as of a mighty wind, there was clear indication of its coming from heaven. Ordinary winds blow from this or that quarter of the skies, but this descended from heaven itself. It was distinctly like a downdraft from above. This sets forth the fact that the true Spirit, the Spirit of God, neither comes from this place, nor can His power be controlled or directed by human authority. But His working is ever from above, from God Himself. The work of the Holy Spirit is, so to speak, the breath of God, and His power is evermore in a special sense the immediate power of God. Coming downward, therefore, this mysterious wind passed into the chamber where the disciples were assembled and filled the room. An ordinary, rushing, mighty wind would have been felt outside the room and would probably have destroyed the house or injured the inmates if it had been aimed at any one building. However, this heavenly gust filled but did not destroy the room; it blessed but did not overthrow the waiting company.

The meaning of the symbol is that as breath, air, or wind is the very life of man, so is the Spirit of God the life of the spiritual man. By Him are we quickened at the first; by Him are we kept alive afterwards; by Him is the inner life nurtured and increased and perfected. The breath of the nostrils of the man of God is the Spirit of God.

This holy breath was not only intended to quicken them but to invigorate them. They took in great draughts of heavenly life; they felt animated, aroused, and stirred. A sacred enthusiasm came upon them because they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and, girded with that strength, they rose into a nobler form of life than they had known before.

No doubt this wind was intended to show the irresistible power of the Holy Spirit. Simple as the air is, and mobile and apparently feeble, set it in motion, and you feel that a thing of life is among you. Make that motion more rapid, and who knows the power of the restless giant that has been awakened. See, it becomes a storm, a tempest, a hurricane, a tornado, a cyclone. Nothing can be more potent than the wind when it is thoroughly roused. Yet, though the Spirit of God is despised among men so much that they do not even believe in His existence, let Him work with the fullness of His power, and you will see what He can do.

He comes softly, breathing like a gentle zephyr which fans the flowers but does not dislodge the insect of most gauzy wing, and our hearts are comforted. He comes like a stirring breeze, and we are quickened to a livelier diligence. Our sails are hoisted, and we fly before the gale. He comes with yet greater strength, and we prostrate ourselves in the dust as we hear the thunder of His power bringing down with a crash false confidences and refuges of lies. How the firm reliances of carnal men, which seemed to stand like rocks, are utterly cast down! How men’s hopes, which appeared to be rooted like oaks, are torn up by the roots before the breath of the convincing Spirit. What can stand against Him? Oh, that we may but see in these latter days something of that mighty, rushing wind which breaks the cedars of Lebanon and sweeps before it all things that would resist its power. (From his book "Power for You")

Acts 2:3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.

  • distributing themselves: Acts 2:4,11 Ge 11:6 Ps 55:9 1Co 12:10 Rev 14:6 
  • as of fire: Isa 6:5 Jer 23:29 Mal 3:2,3 Mt 3:11 Lu 24:32 Jas 3:6 Rev 11:3 
  • they rested on each one of them: Acts 1:15 Isa 11:2,3 Mt 3:15 John 1:32,33 
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Amplified  And there appeared to them tongues resembling fire, which were separated and distributed and which settled on each one of them. 

ESV And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.

KJV And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

NET  And tongues spreading out like a fire appeared to them and came to rest on each one of them.

NIV They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.

NLT  Then, what looked like flames or tongues of fire appeared and settled on each of them.

YLT  and there appeared to them divided tongues, as it were of fire; it sat also upon each one of them,


And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves - The conjunction "and" suggests that this visual sign was contemporaneous with the audible sign. Signs point to something and in this case point to the fact that Jesus had sent His Spirit to baptize these believers.

Vincent notes that the verb appeared (horao) is the "word most commonly used in the New Testament of seeing visions. See Mt 17:3; Mk 9:4; Lk 1:11; 22:43; Acts 2:17; 7:35. The kindred noun optasia wherever it occurs in the New Testament, means a vision. See Luke 1:2; 24:23, etc." (Word Studies in the New Testament)

Whereas the wind speaks of the power of God, fire speaks of the Presence of God. The Spirit had arrived in power, providing that which we desperately need for service (Acts 1:8). They heard the Spirit's arrival in Acts 2:2 and now they see the Spirit's arrival. 

McGee - So on that Day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came to the church, baptizing them into the body of Christ, there was an appeal to the ear and an appeal to the eye. This is not to be confused with the baptism of fire. The baptism of fire is judgment which is yet to come. In the Book of Revelation we see the wrath of God revealed from heaven, fire from heaven. That is a baptism of fire (Lk 3:16b+). If men will not have the baptism of the Holy Spirit, then they must have the baptism of fire—judgment (eg, Rev 16:8+, Rev 20:9-10+). The baptism of fire is for those who have rejected Jesus Christ. I used to go to a prayer meeting which a wonderful preacher attended. I loved that dear brother, although his theology differed from mine in some points. He would always pray that fire would fall on us. And I always canceled out that prayer and said, “Lord, for goodness sake, don’t let fire fall on us.” Fire, you see, is judgment. Fire burns. That is yet to come. When the Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost, they saw something that in appearance looked like fire. (Thru the Bible)

Some have linked this description with the prophecy by John the Baptist that Jesus "will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire." (Mt 3:11+, Lk 3:16+, cf Jn 1:33, Acts 1:5+). Notice that Jesus' prediction in Acts 1:5 He said "you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now." So while the first part of Matthew 3:11+ appears to be fulfilled in the baptism of the Spirit in Acts 2:1-4, Jesus does not mention a baptism of fire in Acts 1:5. While not everyone agrees many commentators take the fire in Mt 3:11 (See notes on Lk 3:16) to refer to the fire of future judgment and this is supported by Jesus' words in Mt 3:12+ (and Lk 3:17) which clearly depict judgment. If this interpretation is correct, then the prophecy in Mt 3:11 is separated by a gap of thousands of years which span from the fulfillment in Pentecost in Acts 2:1 to the future fulfillment when Messiah judges the world in righteousness (cf Rev 20:11-15+). 

Why would God use what looked like fire? Fire was frequently used in the OT as a symbol of God's presence - (1) "behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a flaming torch which passed between these pieces." (Ge 15:17+), (2) the burning bush that did not burn (Ex 3:2–5), (3) "The LORD was going before them in a pillar of cloud by day to lead them on the way, and in a pillar of fire by night to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night." (Ex 13:21), (4) "the glory of the LORD was like a consuming fire on the mountain top" of Mt Sinai (Ex 24:17), (5) "the (Shekinah) cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and there was fire in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel." (Ex 40:38).

So fire here in the form of tongues in Acts 2:3 is a manifestation of the Spirit's presence and suggests that He would manifest Himself in their speech.

Wiersbe comments that "The tongues as of fire symbolized the powerful witness of the church to the people. G Campbell Morgan reminds us that our tongues can be set on fire either by heaven or by hell! (James 3:5–6) (WOE!) Combine wind and fire and you have—a blaze!" (Bible Exposition Commentary )

Adrian Rogers says "a church aflame is what we need to be. We don't want to come across to this community as a religious country club, or plastic hypocrites—playing water boy to a game of life. We want to demonstrate to this community, and to our world, the life of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Steven Cole - Fire brings both heat and light. The heat of fire consumes the dross, purifying those who come in contact with it or destroying those who have no gold in them. The heat of fire also pictures the zeal that should mark believers, who are to be hot, not lukewarm, in their devotion to Christ (Rev. 3:15-16). The light pictures the illumination that God brings to those in spiritual darkness....Down through church history, the sovereign Spirit has moved unseen as the wind, where He wills, to bring revival. Invariably, it starts with the church, purifying God’s people, igniting their cold hearts with a renewed passion for knowing God and burning off the dross of the world that had contaminated them. Through them, it spreads as the gospel is proclaimed and the Spirit imparts new life in Christ to dead sinners. Through His mighty Holy Spirit, God does what no humanly orchestrated “revival” could ever do. He brings lasting change by regenerating and purifying dead sinners so that He is glorified as people recognize His mighty deeds. Such revival is clearly a sovereign act of God, not the result of any human effort or planning. We should be praying that God would graciously send such a revival on our land! (The Meaning of Pentecost Acts 2:1-13)

NET Bible translates this passage as "tongues spreading out like a fire appeared to them" and explains that "The precise meaning of diamerizomai in Acts 2:3 is difficult to determine. The meaning could be “tongues as of fire dividing up one to each person,” but it is also possible that the individual tongues of fire were divided (“And divided tongues as of fire appeared”). The translation adopted in the text (“tongues spreading out like a fire”) attempts to be somewhat ambiguous." 

Tongues (100)(glossa) refers to literal organ that aids human speech, figurative use of the tongue in speaking a language, such as foreign languages not learned through normal means by the speakers. In the present passage it appears that they saw what looked like tongues on fire that were separating and distributing to rest on each of the 120 persons in the room. It appears that the fire-like vision was one great "flame" that then separated into individual "flames," each person having the "flame" on them. 

These tongues were like fire, but they were not fire. What is being described is in a very real sense a vision, a visual sign. This reminds us of the OT picture seen by Moses on Mt Sinai when he beheld "the bush (that) was burning with fire, yet the bush was not consumed." (Ex 3:2)

There is clearly a play on words between tongues like a fire and speaking in other tongues (Acts 2:4), and the common link is that both are associate with the Holy Spirit, much like the fact that the both the Hebrew (ruach) and Greek (pneuma) words for Spirit are also translated wind (or breath). Adam Clarke is probably correct when he says "The tongues were the emblem of the languages they were to speak."

James Montgomery Boice on ruach and pneuma - You can’t say that properly without a strong sound of breath: it is pronounced ru-aaah. So what is true linguistically—that the word means both “breath” and “spirit”—is also conveyed sensually. It is the same with the Greek word pneuma and with the Latin word spiritus. So there is not one of these three great ancient languages in which a person could even say the word for “spirit” without an audible breath sound. (Acts: An Expositional Commentary)

Distributing (1266)(diamerizo from dia = through + merizo = to divide) means literally to divide (as Jesus' garments - Mt 27:35, Mk 15:24, Lk 23:34, Jn 19:24), in a figurative sense of a kingdom divided (Lk 17:17, 18), of families divided by being forced to choose for or against Jesus (Lk 12:53). 

It is interesting to note that diamerizo is used in the context of diving the nations at Babel, Moses writing 

“When the Most High gave the nations their inheritance (Lxx = "divided the nations" diamerizo), When He separated the sons of man, He set the boundaries of the peoples According to the number of the sons of Israel.  (Dt 32:8)

Comment - So at the Tower of Babel God divided men into nations by confusing their languages. At the Feast of Pentecost God broke down the national or racial barriers for now all believers are one in Christ Jesus. 

A T Robertson on diamerizo - Present middle (or passive) participle of diamerizō, old verb, to cleave asunder, to cut in pieces as a butcher does meat (aorist passive in Luke 11:17-18). So middle here would mean, parting themselves asunder or distributing themselves. The passive voice would be "being distributed." The middle is probably correct and means that "the fire-like appearance presented itself at first, as it were, in a single body, and then suddenly parted in this direction and that; so that a portion of it rested on each of those present" (Hackett). The idea is not that each tongue was cloven, but each separate tongue looked like fire, not real fire, but looking like (hōsei, as if) fire. The audible sign is followed by a visible one (Knowling). "Fire had always been, with the Jews, the symbol of the Divine presence (cf. Exodus 3:2; Deut. 5:4). No symbol could be more fitting to express the Spirit's purifying energy and refining energy" (Furneaux). The Baptist had predicted a baptizing by the Messiah in the Holy Spirit and in fire (Matthew 3:11)." (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

And they rested on each one of them - The KJV has "sat" and the NLT has "settled." Vincent adds that rested is singular signifying that "One of these luminous appearances sat upon each." Robertson adds rested is a "Singular verb here, though plural ōpthēsan with tongues (glōssai). A tongue that looked like fire sat upon each one." 

A T Pierson suggests "The word ‘sat’ has a marked force in the New Testament. It carries the idea of a completed preparation, and a certain permanence of position and condition.” (Borrow The Acts of the Holy Spirit)

Warren Wiersbe - The Holy Spirit had been active prior to Pentecost and had worked in Creation (Gen. 1:1-2), in Old Testament history (Judges 6:34; 1 Sam. 16:13), and in the life and ministry of Jesus (Luke 1:30-37; 4:1, 14; Acts 10:38). However, now there would be two changes: the Spirit would dwell in people and not just come on them, and His presence would be permanent, not temporary (John 14:16-17). The Spirit could not have come sooner, for it was essential that Jesus die, be raised from the dead, and return to heaven before the Spirit could be given (John 7:37-39; 16:7ff). (ED: SEE EXCELLENT SCHEMATIC OF THE "TIMING" OF THE COMING OF THE SPIRIT AND BIRTH OF THE CHURCH) Remember the Jewish calendar in Leviticus 23: Passover, Firstfruits, and then Pentecost. (ED: SEE CHART OF SEVEN GREAT FEASTS) (Bible Exposition Commentary).

The esteemed preacher Martyn-Lloyd Jones clearly stated that "here in Acts 2 God is starting the Christian church!"

Spurgeon - Wind and fire together! Rushing mighty wind (MORE ACCURATELY "LIKE A WIND" BUT NOT ACTUALLY WIND) alone how terrible! Who shall stand against it? See how the gallant ships dash together, and the monarchs of the forest bow their heads. And fire (AGAIN LIKE FIRE) alone! Who shall stand against it when it devours its prey? But set wind and fire to work in hearty union! Remember the old city of London. When first the flames began it was utterly impossible to quench them because the wind fanned the flame, and the buildings gave way before the fire-torrent. Set the prairie on fire. If a rain-shower falls, and the air is still, the grass may perhaps cease to burn, but let the wind encourage the flame, and see how the devourer sweeps along while the tall grass is licked up by tongues of fire. We have lately read of forests on fire. What a sight! Hear how the mighty trees are crashing in the flame! What can stand against it! The fire sets the mountains on a blaze. What a smoke blackens the skies; it grows dark at noon. As hill after hill offers up its sacrifice, the timid imagine that the great day of the Lord has come. If we could see a spiritual conflagration of equal grandeur it would be a consummation devoutly to be wished. O God, send us the Holy Spirit in this fashion: give us both the breath of spiritual life and the fire of unconquerable zeal, till nation after nation shall yield to the sway of Jesus. O thou who art our God, answer us by fire, we pray thee. Answer us both by wind and fire, and then shall we see thee to be God indeed. The kingdom comes not, and the work is flagging. O that thou wouldest send the wind and the fire! Thou wilt do this when we are all of one accord, all believing, all expecting, all prepared by prayer. Lord, bring us to this waiting state. (from Acts 2:2-4 Pentecostal Wind and Fire)

James Montgomery Boice - In his book The Incendiary Fellowship, Elton Trueblood describes the character and company of those who are filled by the Holy Spirit. “Incendiary” means “set ablaze.” It refers to Christians themselves. But “incendiary” also means the act of setting other people ablaze. It refers to those in whom the fire of the Holy Spirit is so intense and so meaningful that they just cannot keep the message of the Spirit to themselves. So they speak of Jesus, and, as a result, here and there little fires spring up. And pretty soon there is a great raging fire of revival that spreads across the world. I do not think we have a raging fire in our time, though there are some places in the world where it may be beginning. But there is a fire. The Holy Spirit is working. We need to be part of that working and see the flames spread. (Acts: An Expositional Commentary)

Spurgeon on The Instructive Symbols of the Holy Spirit (part 2)

The second Pentecostal symbol was fire. Fire again is a frequent symbol of the Deity. Abraham saw a burning lamp, and Moses beheld a burning bush. When Solomon had built his holy and beautiful house, its consecration lay in the fire of God descending upon the sacrifice to mark that the Lord was there. When the Lord had dwelled before then in the tabernacle, which was superseded by the temple, He revealed Himself in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. (See Exodus 13:21.) “Our God is a consuming fire” (Heb. 12:29). Hence, the symbol of fire is a fit emblem of God the Holy Spirit. Let us adore and worship Him.

Tongues of flame sitting on each man’s head were tokens of a personal visitation to the mind and heart of each one of the chosen company. The fires came not to consume them, for no one was injured by the flaming tongue. To men whom the Lord has prepared for His approach, there is no danger in His visitations. They see God, and their lives are preserved. They feel His fires and are not consumed. This is the privilege of those alone who have been prepared and purified for such fellowship with God.

The intention of the symbol was to show them that the Holy Spirit would illuminate them as fire gives light. “He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). Henceforth, they were to be no longer untrained children but to be teachers in Israel, instructors of the nations whom they were to disciple unto Christ. Hence, the Spirit of light was upon them. But fire does more than give light; it inflames, and the flames which sat upon each showed them that they were to be ablaze with love, intense with zeal, burning with self-sacrifice.

These flames also showed them that they were to go forth among men to speak not with the chilling tongues of deliberate logic but with burning tongues of passionate pleading, persuading and entreating men to come to Christ that they might live. The fire signified inspiration. God was about to make them speak under a divine influence, to speak “as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4). Oh, blessed symbol, I pray to God that all of us would experience its meaning to the full and that the tongue of fire would sit upon every servant of the Lord. May a fire burn steadily within to destroy our sin, a holy, sacrificial flame to make us whole burnt offerings unto God, a never-dying flame of zeal for Him and devotion to the Cross.

Note that the emblem was not only fire but a tongue of fire. God meant to have a speaking church, not a church that would fight with the sword—we have nothing to do with that weapon—but a church that would have a sword proceeding out of its mouth, whose one weapon should be the proclamation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I think from what I know of some preachers that when they had their Pentecost, the influence sat upon them in the form of tongues of flowers, but the apostolic Pentecost knew not flowers but flames. What fine preaching we have nowadays! What new thoughts and poetical turns! This is not the style of the Holy Spirit. Soft and gentle is the flow of smooth speech which tells of the dignity of man, the grandeur of the century, the toning down of all punishment for sin, and the probable restoration of all lost spirits, including the archfiend himself. This is the satanic ministry, subtle as the serpent and as his seducing words to Eve.

The Holy Spirit does not call us to this mode of speech. Show fire, intensity, zeal, passion as much as you will, but aiming at effect by polished phrases and brilliant periods is more fit for those who would deceive men than for those who would tell them the message of the Most High. The style of the Holy Spirit is one which conveys the truth to the mind in the most forcible manner; it is plain but flaming, simple but consuming. The Holy Spirit has never written a cold period throughout the whole Bible, and never did He speak by a man a lifeless word. Evermore, He gives and blesses the tongue of fire.

These, then, are the two symbols: He comes as the wind which wafts the words we speak and as fire which burns a way for the truth we utter. Our words are now full of life and flame. They are born by the breath of the Spirit, and they fall like flames and set the souls of men blazing with desire after God. If the Holy Spirit will rest upon me or upon you, or upon any of us, to qualify us for service, it will be after this fashion: not merely of life for ourselves but of fiery energy in dealing with others. Come on us even now, rushing, mighty wind and tongue of fire, for the world has great need. It lies stagnant in the malaria of sin and needs a healing wind. It is shrouded in dreadful night and needs the flaming torch of truth. There is neither health nor light for it but from You, blessed Spirit. Come, then, upon it through Your people.

Now, put these two symbols together; only mind what you are doing. Wind and fire together! I have kept them separate in my discourse previously, and you have seen power in each one. What are they together? Rushing, mighty wind alone, how terrible! Who will stand against it? See how the gallant ships dash together and the monarchs of the forest bow their heads. And fire alone! Who will stand against it when it devours its prey? But set wind and fire to work in hearty union! Remember the old city of London. When first the flames began, it was utterly impossible to quench them because the wind fanned the flame and the buildings gave way before the fire torrent.

Oh, God, send us the Holy Spirit in this fashion; give us both the breath of spiritual life and the fire of unconquerable zeal until nation after nation will yield to the sway of Jesus. Oh, You who are our God, answer us by fire, we pray You. Answer us both by wind and fire, and then will we see You to be God indeed. The kingdom comes not, and the work is flagging. Oh, that You would send the wind and the fire! You will do this when we are all of one accord, all believing, all expecting, all prepared by prayer. Lord, bring us to this waiting state. (From his book "Power for You")

Excursus on the "Birth of the Church" or When the Church Began - Wayne Grudem, a very influential theologian in the reformed movement, teaches that the church constitutes all the people of God for all time, both Old Testament believers and New Testament believers. He bases his opinion at least in part on the fact that the Septuagint uses ekklesia for the people of Israel in the OT (Dt. 4:10; 9:10; 18:16; etc) and Stephen uses ekklesia in Acts 7:38 in his description of Israel in the OT ("congregation"). This line of logic would seem to be at odds with the fact that the Church is described by Paul as a mystery hidden in the Old Testament but revealed in the New Testament:

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles– 2 if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you; 3 that by revelation (apokalupsis) there was made known to me the mystery (musterion), as I wrote before in brief. 4 By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, 5 which in other generations was not (Gk = ouk = absolutely not) made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed (apokalupto) to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; 6 to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body ("THE CHURCH WHICH IS HIS BODY," THE BODY OF CHRIST - Ephesians 1:22-23+), and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the Gospel, (Ephesians 3:1-6+).

Paul could not have been much clearer in explaining that the Church, the Body of Christ (Eph 1:22-23+), was not revealed in the Old Testament. I should give full disclosure here and explain that I am not a dispensationalist but a literalist. That said, I believe a literal interpretation of the Scripture supports the fact that the Church, composed of both Jews and Gentiles (the latter = those "far off" in Acts 2:39+), began in Acts 2 at Pentecost.

Wayne Grudem's definition of the Church as all believers of all ages tends to lend support of a teaching that is sadly growing in popularity that the Church has replaced the literal nation of Israel in God's prophetic plan of the ages. In fact Grudem espouses at least some form of Replacement Theology according to these "experts" - listen at 17'14". In fairness to Grudem, while on one hand he states that “many New Testament verses...understand the church as the ‘new Israel’ or new ‘people of God," he also declares that the Jews have a future in the plan of God writing “I affirm the conviction that Romans 9–11 teaches a future large-scale conversion of the Jewish people.” There is a "catch" however! As Vlach says "This salvation (OF ISRAEL IN THE LAST DAYS), though, is usually viewed as being in conjunction with an incorporation INTO the Christian church. Though affirming a future salvation of the Jews, supersessionists (LIKE GRUDEM) do not see this salvation as inferring any special role for Israel apart from the Church." (Various Forms of Replacement Theology bolding mine). Since Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology (which overall I think is excellent) is often assigned reading in evangelical seminaries, Bible colleges and churches (I go to Austin Stone and Grudem's text is the main teaching resource used for the entire year in men and women's development). Given that many of those exposed to Grudem's system of interpreting Scripture are usually students who do not yet know the whole counsel of God's Word, Grudem's ideas are much more likely to move students in a supersessionist direction.

Related Resources:

Acts 2:4  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

  • filled: Acts 1:5, Acts 4:8,31, Acts 6:3,5,8, Acts 7:55, Acts 9:17, Acts 11:24, Acts 13:9,52 Lu 1:15,41,67 4:1 Joh 14:26 20:22 Ro 15:13 Eph 3:19 5:18 
  • began: Ac 2:11 10:46 19:6 Isa 28:11 Mk 16:17 1Co 12:10,28-30 13:1,8 14:5 1Co 14:18,21-23,29 
  • as: Ex 4:11,12 Nu 11:25-29 1Sa 10:10 2Sa 23:2 Isa 59:21 Jer 1:7-9 Jer 6:11 Eze 3:11 Mic 3:8 Mt 10:19 Lu 12:12 21:15 1Co 14:26-32 Eph 6:18 1Pe 1:12 2Pe 1:21 
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Greek - kai eplesthesan (3PAAI)  pante pneumatos hagiou kai erxanto (3PAMI) lalein (3PAMI) heterais glossais kathos to pneuma edidou (3SIAI) apophtheggesthai (PM/PN) autois

Amplified  And they were all filled (diffused throughout their souls) with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other (different, foreign) languages (tongues), as the Spirit kept giving them clear and loud expression [in each tongue in appropriate words]. 

ESV  And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

KJV  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

NET  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them.

NIV  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

NLT  And everyone present was filled with the Holy Spirit and began speaking in other languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them this ability.

YLT  and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, according as the Spirit was giving them to declare.

Related Passages:

Acts 4:8; 31  Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people,(4:31) And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.

Acts 6:3; 5; 8   “Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. (6:5) The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch. (6:8) And Stephen, full of grace and power, was performing great wonders and signs among the people.

Acts 7:55  But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God;

Acts 9:17  So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

Acts 11:24  for he was a good man, and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And considerable numbers were brought to the Lord.

Acts 13:9; 52   But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him, (13:52) And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

THOUGHT - The church in Acts is filled with Spirit filled individuals which should be true for every church today!


They were all together in one place...and they were filled with the Holy Spirit - This would (should) be a great "working description" of the local church. Obviously Pentecost was unique and was a once for all time occurrence, but the pattern of all believers filled with the Spirit on any given Sunday should be the goal of every congregation! 

And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit - First note the AND linking the filling with the previous signs of the baptism with the Spirit. Some think the filling followed the baptism, but the text (and the "and") supports that they happened simultaneously. Who is "they?" Acts 1:26 says it was the 12 apostles (Matthias having just been selected by lot) and they were among a larger gathering of "about 120 persons" the exact location in Jerusalem not being specified. Notice that all who were present were filled with the Holy Spirit. There were no exceptions! 

Notice they were filled with the Spirit. In short, they had all of the Spirit they could receive. They were "filled to the brim." We too were filled when we were born again. We received all of the Spirit we will ever receive (cf in Christ "you have been made complete [pleroo]" - Col 2:10+), but now our desire and pursuit should be for the Spirit to have all of us that He can have! What is sad is that too often we hear more about the baptism of the Spirit, while we hear much less about the importance of being filled with the Holy Spirit! Our enemy must loss it, because this short-circuits the supernatural power in our lives which gives evidence of a supernatural Source!

James Montgomery Boice - People talk about the baptism of the Holy Spirit as if that is what Pentecost was about. Usually they mean that Pentecost “baptism” is a special experience that involves the gift of being able to speak in tongues. They would say that the ability to speak in tongues is the only sure evidence that a person has been baptized with the Spirit—or even, perhaps, is a Christian. The Bible does talk about a baptism of the Holy Spirit, of course, but not in those terms. The baptism of the Holy Spirit has to do with regeneration or being born again. It results in the regenerated person being identified with Jesus Christ, spiritually in the sight of God and publicly before other men and women. Significantly, that is what the sacrament of water baptism also signifies. It does not have anything to do with imparting some kind of special blessing. It is an identification of the baptized individual with Christ. It is done once, because a person is only saved once. To be baptized by the Holy Spirit is to be a Christian. John R. W. Stott wrote correctly, “Water-baptism is the initiatory Christian rite, because Spirit-baptism is the initiatory Christian experience.” To be filled with the Holy Spirit is different, and it is this that is being talked about here. The early believers did not become Christians at Pentecost. They already were believers. They believed in Jesus. They were meeting together. They were praying. They were studying the Bible. But now the Holy Spirit came upon them in a special way to empower them for their task. The word used to describe the experience is “filled.” (Ibid)

John Stott - Before Christ sent the church into the world, he sent the Spirit into the church. The same order must be observed today. (Borrow The message of Acts : the Spirit, the church & the world)

Baptism with the Spirit is a one time occurrence, carried out by Christ, and is not repeated nor commanded. On the other hand, filling with the Spirit is to be a repeated occurrence and is commanded (See Relationship Between Spirit Baptism and Filling). The saying is "One baptism, many fillings." And so Paul commanded all believers to be daily, continually controlled by the Spirit  "And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled (passive voice = speaks of force from without acting on the subject and translated "be" in the present imperative = command calling for this to be our lifestyle, daily surrendering our will and submitting to the will of and control of) the Spirit, (Ephesians 5:18-commentary). 

McGee - The filling of the Spirit was for service (ED: I WOULD ADD FOR WORSHIP - see first "fruit" of filling in Eph 5:19+). The experience of the Day of Pentecost came from the filling of the Holy Spirit (not the baptism of the Holy Spirit). It is still the same today. The filling of the Holy Spirit is for service. This is the only work of the Holy Spirit that we are to do anything about—we are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit...The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not a command given to us. It is not an experience. It is an act of God whereby the believer in Jesus Christ is indwelt by the Spirit of God, sealed unto the day of redemption, and placed into the church, the body of Christ, by the baptism of the Spirit. The filling of the Spirit of God is the enablement for service. We are commanded to be filled with the Spirit. (Thru the Bible)

Wiersbe adds that "The filling of the Spirit has to do with power for witness and service (Acts 1:8+). We are not exhorted (OR COMMANDED) to be baptized with the Spirit, for this is something God does once and for all when we trust His Son. But we are commanded to be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18+), for we need His power constantly if we are to serve God effectively (ED: cf John 15:5!). At Pentecost, the Christians were filled with the Spirit AND experienced the baptism of the Spirit; but after that, they experienced many fillings (Acts 4:8, 31; 9:17; 13:9) but no more baptisms. (Bible Exposition Commentary )

Spirit and power are frequently associated = Luke 4:14+; Acts 1:8+; Acts 10:38; Ro 15:13; Ro 15:19, 1 Cor. 2:4; Eph. 3:16; 1 Th. 1:5; 2 Ti 1:7). The upshot is that the Holy Spirit imparts power for ministry. Does this describe your ministry? Is it "your" ministry or the Spirit of Jesus' ministry THROUGH you? The former is fueled by natural power, the latter by supernatural power. The former is fruitless, the latter is fruitful. The former gives you glory, the latter gives Jesus glory. Which describes your ministry? Remember that…

Bethlehem was God with us.
Calvary was God for us.
Pentecost is God in us.

D. L. Moody is reported to have said, “You might as well try to see without eyes, hear without ears, or breathe without lungs, as to try to live the Christian life without the Holy Spirit.”

James Montgomery Boice - In Acts’ version of the Great Commission we have an emphasis upon the power of the Holy Spirit. The disciples were being sent into the world with the gospel. But they were not to go in their own strength. If they had gone in their own strength, nothing would have happened. At Pentecost no one would have believed if the Holy Spirit had not blessed Peter’s preaching. The people would have ridiculed Peter, if they did not do something worse.  (Acts: An Expositional Commentary)

Bill Crowder gives us a pithy Illustration of Need for Power - The first winter that my wife Marlene and I were married was marked by severe blizzards. I can vividly remember one Sunday when we awoke to find that the electricity had been knocked out by an ice storm. Huddled around a battery-powered radio for news on that frigid Sunday, we heard a most unusual announcement. The announcer, before giving the list of church services canceled due to the ice storm, said,“The following churches will be closed due to lack of power.” What an interesting comment! I knew what he meant, but I was struck by what he said. The idea of churches closing due to lack of power conjures up some spiritual parallels that directly tie into Jesus’ promise of the Spirit. Just prior to His ascension, Jesus told His men in Acts 1:8, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” He directly attached the coming of the Spirit to the empowering of believers. (Bill Crowder - RBC Ministry - Promise of the Spirit) What a provocative illustration! What would the announcer say about many American churches today? They probably wouldn't be closed for lack of activity, but lack of power is another matter!

David Platt in his book Radical has a chapter entitled "Beginning at the End of Ourselves -- The Importance of Relying on God's Power (Subsection entitled - “Dependent on Ourselves or Desperate for His Spirit”) – This is where I am most convicted as a pastor…I am part of a system that has created a whole host of means and methods, plans and strategies for doing church that require little if any power from God….I am frightened by the reality that the church I lead can carry on most of our activities….never realizing that the Holy Spirit of God is virtually absent from the picture.” (Borrow Radical- Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream)

Francis Chan – God put His Spirit in us so we could be known for our power. Sadly, most believers and churches are known for talent and intellect rather than supernatural power. What’s worse is that we’re okay with it…. I'm willing to bet there are millions of churchgoers across America who cannot confidently say they have experienced His (the Spirit's) presence or action in their lives over the past year. And many of them do not believe they can!” (Borrow Forgotten God - Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit)

John Stott - Without the Holy Spirit, Christian discipleship would be inconceivable, even impossible. There can be no life without the life-giver, no understanding without the Spirit of truth, no fellowship without the unity of the Spirit, no Christlikeness of character apart from his fruit, and no effective witness without his power. As a body without breath is a corpse, so the church without the Spirit is dead. Luke is well aware of this. Of the four evangelists it is he who lays the heaviest emphasis on the Spirit. Near the beginning of each part of his two-volume work he demonstrates the indispensability of the Holy Spirit’s enabling.  (Borrow The message of Acts : the Spirit, the church & the world)

A W Tozer - If God were to take the Holy Spirit out of this world, much of what we’re doing in our churches would go right on and nobody would know the difference!...I do not believe in a repetition of Pentecost, but I do believe in a perpetuation of Pentecost—and there is a vast difference between the two!

Vance Havner - We are seeing much today of service without the Spirit. There is an appalling ignorance of the Person and work of the Holy Spirit in our great church bodies. It is not what is done for God that counts, but rather what is done by Him, the work of His Spirit through our yielded wills. Programs, propaganda, pep, personnel, these are not enough. There must be power. God's work must be done by God's people God's way. The Quakers got their name from the fact that they trembled under the power of the Spirit. At least their faith shook them! Too many of us today are shaky about what we believe but not shaken by what we believe! Too many people assemble at God's house who don't really believe in the power of God. Having begun in the Spirit, we live in the flesh (Gal 3:3)… Never has the church had more wire stretched with less power in it. All is vain unless the Spirit of the Holy One comes down (cp Zech 4:6). Sad to say, we seem not even to know that we have not the Spirit in power. If He ceased His work many church members would never know the difference. Like Samson, we don’t realize that He has departed (Jdg 16:19, 20, 21), but we keep "shaking ourselves" in the prescribed calisthenics.

A C Dixon - When we rely on organization, we get what organization can do. When we rely upon education, we get what education can do. When we rely on eloquence, we get what eloquence can do. But when we rely on the Holy Spirit, we get what God can do.

Here are examples of the filling with the Holy Spirit in the book of Acts. (Note some are the verb pimplemi and some are pleroo - see discussion of these after the passages).

  • Acts 4:8, = Peter Acts 4:8  - Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people,
  • Acts 4:31 = Disciples prayed -  And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the word of God with boldness.
  • Acts 6:3, 5 = deacons  - Acts 6:3;“Therefore, brethren, select from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. 5 The statement found approval with the whole congregation; and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch.
  • Acts 7:55; = Stephen - But being full of the Holy Spirit, he gazed intently into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God;
  • Acts 9:17 = Saul (Paul) - So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.
  • Acts 13:9 = Paul -  But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him, 
  • Acts 13:52 - disciples -  And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

The Greek verb in Acts 2:4 for filled  is pimplemi (from pláō = to fill) and it means to fill, to make full, to complete. Pimplemi can describe a literal filling - of a wedding hall = Mt 22:10, of a sponge = Mt 27:48, Jn 19:29, Lk 5:7 = of boats. In Septuagint (Lxx)  it describes filling of skins or jars filled with water (Ge 21:19, Ge 24:16). Figuratively as used here in Acts 2:4 to describe people, pimplemi means to filled with something which wholly controls or influences them. In other words, what fills a person, exerts control over the person. God's will for believers is to be Spirit filled, but even believers still have three mortal enemies the world, the flesh and the devil and unfortunately can be filled with and controlled by a different "spirit" - Lk 4:28, Lk 6:11 = filled with rage, Lk 5:26 = filled with fear, Acts 5:17 = jealousy, Acts 13:45 = Jews filled with jealousy, compare Acts 19:29 = city filled with confusion). Another filling is described in Acts 3:10 = wonder and amazement. One of my favorite uses of pemplemi (other than being filled with the Spirit) is found in Septuagint translation of the prophecy in Habakkuk: "For the earth will be filled (Hebrew = male= to be full; Lxx = pimplemi) with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, As the waters cover the sea." (Habakkuk 2:14+ ) And another verse that speaks of the glorious hope we have at Messiah's Second Coming and establishment of His Millennium (Messianic) Kingdom. "I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house (Millennial Temple - read Ezek 43:2-4, 5) with glory,' says the LORD of hosts." (Haggai 2:7) And all God's children shout "Hallelujah-Praise the Lord!"

Luke also uses the related verb pleroo which can mean literally filled or figuratively filled in the sense of what fills, controls. A few uses speak of time fulfilled (as in fulfilled prophecy). There are 16 uses of pleroo in Acts:

Acts 1:16 (Scripture fulfilled) Acts 2:2 noise like rushing wind filled house) Acts 2:28 (Jesus full of gladness) Acts 3:18 (time) Acts 5:3 (Satan filled Ananias), Acts 5:28 Acts 7:23 (filled Jerusalem with teaching) Acts 7:30 (time) Acts 9:23 (time) Acts 12:25 Acts 13:25 (fulfilled their mission) Acts 13:27 (fulfilled prophecy of Crucifying Jesus) Acts 13:52 (joy and Spirit) Acts 14:26 (work accomplished) Acts 19:21 (things finished) Acts 24:27 (time). Acts 13:52 is a verse that should be on the doorposts of every church in America so it is readily visible as the saints congregate to worship the Lord - "the disciples were continually filled (pleroo) with joy and with the Holy Spirit." (See A Spirit Filled Church) All disciples of Jesus should be continually filled which describes the ideal "the normal Christian life." Are you filled today? Unconfessed sin is primary impediment to being filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit. Confess, repent and receive the power of the Spirit's filling. 

While we are speaking of being filled with the Spirit, it would be good to understand what Spirit filling looks like in real life. In other words what impact did Spirit filling have on the first Church and applying this truth, what effect should it have on churches today? What we find repeatedly is that Spirit filling controls/effects our speaking. We see this "juxtaposition" of filling with the Spirit associated with speech in Ephesians 5:18 which commands us to continually "be (being) filled with the Spirit" and the very next word in the Greek text is "speaking" (lalountes - present tense = continually speaking). The point is that what (Who) fills you will show itself in your speech. In Acts 4:31 Luke records "when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak the word of God with boldness." In Acts 9:27-28 we read that "at Damascus he (Paul) had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus. And he was with them moving about freely in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord." You say well I don't see the Spirit filling in that passage. For that we need to examine the context which shows that just 10 verses earlier Luke records that Paul was "filled with the Holy Spirit." (Acts 9:17) Paul a man filled with the Spirit speaks out boldly. One practical application is that you can quickly discern (as a general rule) if you are filled with (controlled by) the Holy Spirit if you are manifesting "holy speech!"  In Acts 13:46 (cf Acts 14:3) we read "And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly." We know Paul was filled, but we also know Barnabas was "a good man and full of the Holy Spirit and of faith." (Acts 11:24). We know that Stephen was "a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 6:7) and he spoke out so truthfully and boldly that it resulted in the Jews stoning him to death in Acts 7:54-60. In Ephesians we see the converse association of the Spirit and speech, for "unwholesome (rotten) speech" described in Eph 4:29-note is related to the quenching "of the Holy Spirit of God" in Eph 4:30-note

Boice adds this note related to filling and speaking - It is not that they spoke in tongues (BOICE IS REFERRING TO EXAMPLES OF FILLING IN ACTS - Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 6:3; 7:55; 9:17; 11:24; 13:9, 52), though this did occur at Pentecost and possibly elsewhere. It is not that they did miracles, though occasionally miracles were performed. No, when the Holy Spirit came upon his people in a special way, filling them, they immediately began to testify verbally about Jesus. Someone might say, “Yes, but at Pentecost they did it in tongues.” True enough. But that is not the emphasis, nor is it part of the other examples of “filling.” In Acts 2 the emphasis is upon the fact that everyone heard about Jesus. So if you ask whether a person is “Spirit-filled,” the only way to answer the question is by determining whether or not he or she speaks often and effectively about Jesus. It is not by whether he or she speaks in an unintelligible language or does miracles. The question is, Does he or she testify to Jesus Christ, and does God bless that testimony in the conversion of men and women? (Ibid)

Kistemaker - The effect of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is that he takes full possession of the individual believer. The Christian who is filled with the Spirit becomes the Spirit’s mouthpiece. In the case of the believers in Jerusalem, they speak in other tongues and thereby prove that the Holy Spirit controls and enables them. The word tongue is the equivalent of the concept spoken language. (Ibid)

Steven Cole on how to be filled with the Spirit - To be filled with the Spirit, we must empty ourselves by confessing all known sin and by dying to self. We must yield ourselves fully to the Lord and depend on Him step by step (“walking in the Spirit,” Gal. 5:16). Being filled with the Spirit is also called (in a parallel passage) letting the word of Christ richly dwell in you (Col. 3:16; see Eph. 5:18 and context). Thus the filling of the Spirit cannot be divorced from God’s Word being at home in your heart. The results of a consistent daily walk in the Spirit will be the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) manifested in our lives and relationships (Eph. 5:19-6:9; Col. 3:16-4:1). (The Meaning of Pentecost Acts 2:1-13)

Related Resources on the Holy Spirit and Filling:

And began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance - Tongues is better translated languages, as what they spoke was clearly recognized as other (heteros = different - not the expected Hebrew or Aramaic) languages (Acts 2:6) by the unbelieving (for the moment) Jews. The ability to speak in foreign languages is here clearly associated with the Holy Spirit Who was giving (imperfect tense - again and again) them utterance. While some say that other tongues is a third sign of baptism with the Spirit, the other tongues is most closely associated with the fact that they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. (see the previous association of filling with the Spirit and speaking enabled by the Spirit). Although it may be semantics, another way to view wind, fire and tongues is to interpret the first two as signs of the Spirit's arrival (baptism) and the third as the effect of the Spirit's filling. However since it was foreign languages the speakers did not know it clearly was also a supernatural sign pointing to a supernatural source, the Holy Spirit, promised by Jesus.

A T Robertson on speak with other tongues - Other than their native tongues. Each one began to speak in a language that he had not acquired and yet it was a real language and understood by those from various lands familiar with them. It was not jargon, but intelligible language. Jesus had said that the gospel was to go to all the nations and here the various tongues of earth were spoken. One might conclude that this was the way in which the message was to be carried to the nations, but future developments disprove it. (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

Roy Gingrich has an interesting note on the possible symbolism of the signs

  • The rushing mighty wind—A symbol of the Spirit’s power (to convince, convict, and convert)
  • The cloven tongues of fire—A symbol of the Spirit’s purification (of sinners from the guilt of sin and of saints from the pollution of sin)
  • The speaking with tongues—A symbol of the Spirit’s worldwide proclamation of the gospel in many languages during the church age (The Book of Acts)

Ray Pritchard writes that this passage raises a question - "What is the “sign” of the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Some people say it is speaking in tongues. But that only happened in connection with the baptism of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2, Acts 10 and Acts 19—all three unique, never-to-be-repeated occasions.(5) Nowhere does the Bible suggest that all believers should speak in tongues. The most we can say is that tongues is a gift given to some believers—but not to all. Biblically speaking, there is no “sign” of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It simply happens to us the moment we trust Christ. Don’t worry about seeking a sign. Just make sure you’re trusting Christ for your salvation. That’s the only “sign” you need. Charles Stanley offers an excellent treatment of this in The Wonderful Spirit-Filled Life argues that the gift of tongues in each instance is a sign that a major new group is being incorporated into the body of Christ—Jews (Acts 2), Samaritans (Acts 8), Gentiles (Acts 10), and the followers of John the Baptist (Acts 19). Once those different groups had been incorporated in the church there was no necessity for the gift of tongues as an authenticating sign. This doesn’t rule out the possibility of the “gift of tongues” mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12-14. (The Baptism of the Holy Spirit: The Source of our Power

Dr. G. Campbell Morgan wrote, “These were but symbols of no value save as signs for the moment. It is necessary to observe that fact, because there is always a hunger in the carnal heart for signs. These signs were material; today we do not need them; they were needed at the commencement.”

Lehman Strauss - The speaking with tongues at Pentecost was doubtless done in perfect order, without any confusion, and it was given just for the occasion. The gift was neither universal nor permanent. Dr. Arthur T. Pierson said, “Speaking in an unknown tongue is unintelligible to the hearer, is undesirable and unserviceable, it may degenerate into an empty display of the mysterious--a mere babble, if not babble, of confusion, and that such a gift acts rather as a hindrance than a help to common joint worship.” Today the Holy Spirit is indwelling Christians, seeking to exalt and magnify Jesus Christ in us (Jn 16:14). Let us not confuse the unbeliever any more than he is already bewildered, but let us seek to witness to him intelligibly and intelligently in a tongue that he knows. The personal and practical aspect of the Spirit’s ministry is summed up in the statement, “They were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” This is the normal state, and it is commanded in Ephesians 5:18. More important than seeking after the Pentecostal phenomena is to surrender our lives to the Pentecostal Person who longs to fill us with Himself in order that we might be equipped to carry out the Great Commission (ED: AMEN AND AMEN!) (Pentecost and the Holy Spirit) 

Strauss echoes my heart which is the main reason these comments on Acts 2 will barely touch on the subject of tongues and whether they exist or do not exist today. My greatest fear is that we can spend so much time defending one side or the other that we miss the most important truth which is each individual's desperate need to daily die to self, surrender to the Spirit in order to be filled with and supernaturally empowered by the Spirit to be a witness of Jesus and His soul saving Gospel and to bear fruit that brings glory (think "attention") to our Father in Heaven (cf John 15:5, Mt 5:16). 

Other (2087)(heteros) has the basic meaning of the other of two or more but specifically different. So the idea is qualitatively another of a different kind, and so not identical with what was previously referred to (Ro 7:23 "different law," Gal 1:6 - "different Gospel"). A second sense of heteros is numerically speaking and thus denoting a new member distinct in kind from those that preceded another (e.g., someone else, something else) (1 Cor 12:8-10+ - " another", Lk 8:6-8 of seed "other seed fell on rocky soil...and other seed fell among the thorns").

Allos is often the diametric opposite of heteros, one of the most striking uses being Jesus' description of the Holy Spirit as "another (allos not heteros) Helper" One just like Himself! (Jn 14:16). 

BDAG summarized - (1.) pert. to being distinct from some other item implied or mentioned, other (a.) other of two, contrasting a definite person or thing w. another (b.) of more than two - another (Mt 8:21, Gal 1:19, Jn 19:37), others (Acts 2:13) (2.) pert. to being dissimilar in kind or class from all other entities, another, different fr. what precedes, externally or internally (Lk 9:29, 1 Cor 15:40, James 2:25, Gal 1:6)

Thayer summarized - the other, another, other (a) to number - (1) to number as opposed to some former person or thing (2) the other of two; (b) to quality - another: i.e. one not of the same nature, form, class, kind, different

Abbott-Smith Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament - Heteros - [in LXX chiefly for 0259]

distributive prop., prop, dual, denoting the second of a pair

1. of number, other; c. art., the ether;

(a) of two, Luke 5:7; Luke 9:56, al.; opp. to ὁ πρῶτος , Matthew 21:30; ὁ εἷς , Matthew 6:24, Luke 7:41, Acts 23:6, al.;  the one . . . the other: 1 Corinthians 15:40; the next: Luke 6:6; Luke 9:56 (sc. ἡμέρα , Xen.), Acts 20:15; Acts 27:3; one's neighbour: Romans 2:1; Romans 13:8, 1 Corinthians 6:1, al.;

(b) of more than two, another: Matthew 8:21; Matthew 11:3, Luke 6:6; Luke 22:66, John 19:37, Romans 8:39, al.; pl., Acts 2:13;  , Matthew 16:14;  Luke 11:16.

2. Of kind or quality, other, another, different: Mark 16:12, Luke 9:29, Acts 2:4, 1 Cor 14:21, 2 Cor 11:4, Gal 1:6, al..

Heteros - 98x in 93v - see all verses below - Usage: another(31), another man(1), another one(2), any other(1), different(6), else(2), neighbor(3), next(3), one(1), other(31), other person(1), others(13), someone else(1), strange(1), strangers(1).

Tongues (100)(glossa) means literal tongue, the organ of the body (Rev 16:10), speaks of taste (Lk 16:24), speaks of speech (Mk 7:33, 35; Lu 1:64; 1 Co 14:9; Ja 3:5, 6), is personified (Ro 14:11; Php 2:11 cf. Acts 2:26; Isa 45:23 Ps 16:9), in the phrase bridle (refrain) the tongue (Jas 1:26; 3:8; 1Pe 3:10; Jdg 7:5; Job 29:10; 33:2), as a metaphor for  speech or language (1 Jn 3:18, Pr 25:15; 31:26, Ge 10:5, 20, 31), to refer to a particular language or dialect as spoken by a particular people (Acts 2:11; 1 Cor 13:1; Ge 10:5, 20; Da 1:4), to refer to a people who speak a particular language, (tribes, people, and tongues) as in (Rev 5:9; 7:9; 10:11; 11:9; 13:7; 14:6; 17:15; Isa 66:18; Da 3:4, 7, 30, 32). In the present passage the phrase glossais hetérais is literally "tongues others or different," and thus speaks of that which is different from than one's own native tongue. The phrase glossais kainaís describes tongues that are qualitatively new and so means to speak languages not known to them before or to speak in or with tongues other than their own native tongue (Mk 16:17; Acts 2:4; 10:46; 19:6; 1 Co 12:30; 14:2, 4-6, 13, 18, 23, 27, 39 ). 

Glossa - 50x in 47v - Usage: tongue(25), tongues(25). Mk. 7:33, 35; 16:17; Lk. 1:64; 16:24; Acts 2:3f, 11, 26; 10:46; 19:6; Rom. 3:13; 14:11; 1 Co. 12:10, 28, 30; 13:1, 8; 14:2, 4ff, 9, 13f, 18f, 22f, 26f, 39; Phil. 2:11; Jas. 1:26; 3:5f, 8; 1 Pet. 3:10; 1 Jn. 3:18; Rev. 5:9; 7:9; 10:11; 11:9; 13:7; 14:6; 16:10; 17:15

Glossa - 112v in the Septuagint - Gen. 10:5, 20, 31; 11:7; Exod. 11:7; Jos. 7:21; 10:21; Jdg. 7:5; 2 Sam. 23:2; Job 5:21; 6:30; 20:12, 16; 29:10; 33:2; Ps. 5:9; 10:7; 12:3f; 14:3; 15:3; 16:9; 22:15; 31:20; 34:13; 35:28; 37:30; 39:1, 3; 45:1; 50:19; 51:14; 52:2, 4; 55:9; 57:4; 64:3, 8; 66:17; 68:23; 71:24; 73:9; 78:36; 81:5; 109:2; 119:172; 120:2f; 126:2; 137:6; 139:4; 140:3; Prov. 3:16; 6:17, 24; 10:20, 31; 12:18f; 15:2, 4; 17:4, 20; 18:21; 21:6, 23; 24:22; 25:15, 23; 26:28; 27:20; 31:26; Cant. 4:11; Isa. 3:8; 19:18; 28:11; 29:24; 32:4; 35:6; 41:17; 45:23; 50:4; 57:4; 59:3; 66:18; Jer. 5:15; 9:3, 5, 8; 18:18; 23:31; Lam. 4:4; Ezek. 3:6, 26; 36:3; Dan. 1:4; 3:2, 4, 7, 29; 4:1, 21; 5:19; 6:25; 7:6, 14; Hos. 7:16; Mic. 6:12; Zeph. 3:9, 13; Zech. 8:23; 14:12. Read the uses of "tongue" in Proverbs - it will give you great insight on the tongue (make a list of what you learn and take it to the Lord in prayer, especially if you have trouble controlling your tongue!)

Here are a few of the uses from Psalms...

Ps 5:9 - "They flatter with their tongue."

Ps 10:7 "Under his tongue is mischief and wickedness."

Psalm 12:3 May the LORD cut off all flattering lips, The tongue that speaks great things;

Psalm 34:13 Keep your tongue from evil And your lips from speaking deceit.

Psalm 37:30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, And his tongue speaks justice.

Psalm 39:1 For the choir director, for Jeduthun. A Psalm of David. I said, "I will guard my ways That I may not sin with my tongue; I will guard my mouth as with a muzzle While the wicked are in my presence."

Psalm 45:1 For the choir director; according to the Shoshannim. A Maskil of the sons of Korah. A Song of Love. My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. (Comment: "my tongue [is] a stylus of a skillful scribe." Words flow from the psalmist's tongue just as they do from a scribe's stylus)

Psalm 51:14 Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, the God of my salvation; Then my tongue will joyfully sing of Your righteousness.

Psalm 119:172 Let my tongue sing of Your word, For all Your commandments are righteousness.

Psalm 120:2 Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips, From a deceitful tongue.

Psalm 137:6 May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth If I do not remember you, If I do not exalt Jerusalem Above my chief joy.

Psalm 139:4 Even before there is a word on my tongue, Behold, O LORD, You know it all.

All 4 uses in the Septuagint of Genesis refer to intelligible languages spoken by people. One of the most famous uses is in Genesis where God declared...

Genesis 11:7 "Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language (Lxx = glossa), so that they will not understand one another's speech."

Friberg summary of glossa - tongue; (1) literally, the organ of speech and taste tongue (Mk 7.33); figuratively, as a means of verbal communication tongue, language (Acts 2.11); (2) by metonymy tribe, people, or nation that speaks a common language (Rev 5.9); (3) as a religious technical term for glossalalia tongues(-speaking), understood variously to be unintelligible ecstatic utterance (1Cor 14.2), heavenly language (1Cor 13.1), or foreign languages not learned through natural means by the speaker (Acts 2.4); (4) as the shape of fire forked flames (Acts 2.3) (Analytical Lexicon of the Greek NT)

Vine - GLŌSSA is used of (1) the “tongues … like as of fire” which appeared at Pentecost; (2) the tongue, as an organ of speech, e.g., Mark 7:33; Rom. 3:13; 14:11; 1 Cor. 14:9; Phil. 2:11; Jas. 1:26; 3:5, 6, 8; 1 Pet. 3:10; 1 John 3:18; Rev. 16:10; (3) (a) a language, coupled with phulē, a tribe, laos, a people, ethnos, a nation, seven times in the Apocalypse, Rev 5:9; 7:9; 10:11; 11:9; 13:7; 14:6; 17:15; (b) the supernatural gift of speaking in another language without its having been learnt; in Acts 2:4-13 the circumstances are recorded from the view–point of the hearers; to those in whose language the utterances were made it appeared as a supernatural phenomenon; to others, the stammering of drunkards; what was uttered was not addressed primarily to the audience but consisted in recounting “the mighty works of God;” cp. Acts 2:46; in 1 Cor 12+ and 1 Cor 14, the use of the gift of tongues is mentioned as exercised in the gatherings oflocal churches; 1 Cor 12:10+ speaks of the gift in general terms, and couples with it that of “the interpretation of tongues;” 1 Cor  14 gives instruction concerning the use of the gift, the paramount object being the edification of the church; unless the tongue was interpreted the speaker would speak “not unto men, but unto God,” 1 Cor  14:2; he would edify himself alone, ver. 4, unless he interpreted, ver. 5, in which case his interpretation would be of the same value as the superior gift of prophesying, as he would edify the church, 1 Cor  14:4-6; he must pray that he may interpret, 1 Cor  14:13; if there were no interpreter, he must keep silence, 1 Cor  14:28, for all things were to be done “unto edifying,” 1 Cor  14:26. “If I come … speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you,” says the Apostle (expressing the great object in all oral ministry), “unless I speak to you either by way of revelation,or of knowledge, or of prophesying, or of teaching?” (1 Cor  14:6). Tongues were for a sign, not to believers, but to unbelievers, 1 Cor  14:22 and especially to unbelieving Jews (see 1 Cor  14:21): cp. the passages in the Acts. There is no evidence of the continuance of this gift after Apostolic times nor indeed in the later times of the Apostles themselves; this provides confirmation of the fulfilment in this way of 1 Cor. 13:8, that this gift would cease in the churches, just as would “prophecies” and “knowledge” in the sense of knowledge received by immediate supernatural power (cp. 1 Cor  14:6). The completion of the Holy Scriptures has provided the churches with all that is necessary for individual and collective guidance, instruction, and edification. (Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words)

As the Spirit was giving them utterance - This was a gift from the Holy Spirit now indwelling and filling these 120 believers. These were untaught Galileans (folks today would call them "hayseeds") which highlights the fact that their ability to speak fluently in foreign languages had to be of supernatural origin. It is notable that being filled with the Spirit from the very beginning (Acts 2) exerted a major effect on one's speech, and that same effect is seen throughout Acts and in the Epistles (see preceding discussion on association of Spirit filling and speaking). This truth begs the question - Is your speaking to your wife, kids, co-workers, etc controlled and empowered by the Holy Spirit? Being Spirit filled is the best (only) way to "let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth" (Eph 4:29+) and to "let your speech always be with grace." (Col 4:6+). Let it be Lord, let it be, for Thy glory. Amen.

Vaughn notes that the 11 disciples "had received the Spirit on an earlier occasion (John 20:22), but that event was not the abiding and universal bestowal which had been promised." (Acts)

Vincent on was giving - A graphic imperfect; kept giving them the language and the appropriate words as the case required from time to time. It would seem that each apostle was speaking to a group, or to individuals. The general address to the multitude followed from the lips of Peter. (Word Studies in the New Testament) What a wonderful picture of the gracious work of the Spirit, giving and giving again. Am I (you) receiving and receiving again as He gives power today to fight the good fight of faith? We need to continually remain in a "receptive state" ("confessed up" and repentant). How are you doing beloved?

Giving utterance (present tense)(669)(apophtheggomai from apo = from + phtheggomai = to utter in Acts 4:18, 2 Pe 2:16, 18) means to speak, utter, declare. The word utter means to articulate audibly, either verbally or with a cry, shout, or noise. The only other uses are Acts 2:14 ("raised his voice and declared") and Acts 26:25 ("I utter words of sober truth"). 

Robertson - Lucian uses it (apophtheggomai) of the ring of a vessel when it strikes a reef. It is used of eager, elevated, impassioned utterance. (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

Vincent adds that apophtheggomai is a "peculiar word, and purposely chosen to denote the clear, loud utterance under the miraculous impulse. It is used by later Greek writers of the utterances of oracles or seers. So in the Septuagint, of prophesying. See 1 Chronicles 25:1; Deuteronomy 32:2; Zechariah 10:2; Ezekiel 13:19." (Word Studies in the New Testament)

Apophtheggomai - 6x in the Septuagint - 1 Chr. 25:1 ( = "to prophesy with lyres"); Ps. 59:7; Ezek. 13:9 - "utter lying divinations"; Ezek. 13:19 "by your lying to My people"); Mic. 5:12 (= "fortune tellers"); Zech. 10:2 (= "the teraphim speak iniquity") ; Acts 2:4; Acts 2:14; Acts 26:25

Gilbrant - In the Septuagint apophthengomai is used of the individuals selected by David to prophesy in the worship of the tabernacle (1 Chronicles 25:1) accompanied by harps, lyres, and cymbals. It was also used of false sources of guidance for Israel such as diviners, false prophets, or soothsayers (Ezekiel 13:9,19; Micah 5:12; Zechariah 10:2). (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

Zodhiates explains "The word "utterance" is the infinitive apophthéggesthai, to form the sounds of the words. They were the sounds of known dialects (Acts 2:6, 8) understood by the people present. Therefore, the "other tongues" that the Holy Spirit enabled the believers to speak at Pentecost were meaningful words and not something which could not be understood. They were not incoherent babblings resulting from a state of ecstasy, but they were deliberate, understandable words energized directly by the Holy Spirit. They were entirely different from glóssa, the unknown tongue (in the singular), practiced among the Corinthians (1 Cor. 14:2, 4, 13, 19, 26, 27). In the Corinthian context, whenever the word glóssa, tongue, is in the plural with a singular personal pronoun, glóssai, it means languages (1 Cor. 14:5, 6, 18, 22, 23), even as in Acts 2:4. The verb apophthéggomai, to utter intelligible and meaningful words, is used also in Acts 2:14 when Peter preached to those present in the upper room. (Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament)

Related Resources on Tongues and Speaking in Tongues: Caveat - The following are a sampling from hundreds of articles and sermons on Speaking in Tongues. My greatest fear is that disciples of Jesus will read and study and preach and teach Acts 2 and accentuate the issue of tongues while minimizing the crucial importance of our supernatural need to be continually filled with the Holy Spirit in Walking Like Jesus Walked!

Phil Newton has a good summary of the complex, controversial topic speaking in tongues...

With this in mind, I think it is important to note that the gift of speaking with other tongues followed the filling of the Spirit. This is one of the most misunderstood and misinterpreted areas of Scripture. So let's notice a few things about it.

First, speaking in tongues was not a precedent nor an evidence of believers beyond Pentecost being "baptized in the Spirit." If that was the case, then there would of necessity have to be the other two phenomena of the "sound of a violent, rushing wind" and "tongues" as of fire resting upon a person's head. You cannot lift this phenomena out of its context and make it normative for every believer.

Second, the kind of tongues mentioned in this verse and throughout the book of Acts were known languages. The entire text is quite clear on this. Notice the three words just in verse 4 that relate to this. They "began to speak" is the Greek word commonly used for human speech (laleo) throughout the New Testament. Next, "with other tongues," distinguishes that the kind of speaking taking place was with "different languages." The word "other" implies "other than their own" (heterais) tongues, that is, tongues not native to their own. The word "tongues" (glossai) refers to languages, not ecstatic utterances or unintelligible speech.

This is clearly demonstrated in verses 5-11, since the known languages in which they were speaking were identified by the countries represented. The comment in verses 6 and 8 of hearing in their own "language" is the word "dialect" (dialektos), which means one's manner of speech. Many of these languages were similar in background and sound yet different; just as the Swiss language is similar to the German language today, but the Swiss is considered a dialect.

Third, it was the Spirit "giving them utterance," not anything contrived, forced, imitated, or manipulated. The word "utterance" is yet another word for speech with an emphasis on "declarative speech or oracular utterances" (apophtheggomai).

This brings us to the whole purpose of the "other tongues." As evidence that the Messianic age had come and that the promises of the Old Testament related to Messiah were fulfilled, these uneducated Galileans were communicating the "mighty deeds of God" in the native languages of this cosmopolitan gathering at Pentecost. Rather than a mass of gibberish, each person listening was hearing these men and women giving testimony in their own language. No one was in the dark as to what was being said. Each was being communicated to in an understandable way. The filling of the Spirit was not without purpose! He fills that we might speak "of the mighty deeds of God" to a lost world!

If you have ever been in Kennedy Airport or another of the larger airports in their international section, you can understand a bit more of what was happening. In this kind of setting, you may hear people from a dozen countries carrying on conversations in their native tongues while you are waiting in a line. As soon as someone speaks English, your ears zero in on the conversation so that you focus on what they are saying. At Pentecost, the band of disciples speaking various languages were doing so quite simultaneously, yet it did not bring confusion, because each person heard the mighty deeds of God in his own dialect. It did not matter what the other languages were saying to that man who heard in his own tongue. He just knew that he understood clearly. (Acts 2:1-21 What Is Pentecost All About?)

Steven Cole: The Meaning of Pentecost Acts 2:1-13
The meaning of Pentecost is God’s equipping His church with the power of His Spirit so that He will be glorified among the nations. God’s purpose at Pentecost was to equip His church with the mighty power of the Holy Spirit so that we would be His witnesses to all the nations, resulting in His eternal glory. I want you to ask yourself these questions as you think about this purpose:

(1) Is my focus on God’s glory in all things? Did I even think about that as I went through my week? Did it determine how I resisted temptation or how I spoke to others?

(2) Is my passion that the nations would glorify God through the gospel? If my heart is not on world missions, it is not in tune with God’s heart.

(3) Is my daily life consciously dependent on the Holy Spirit? Would I have missed Him if He had withdrawn from me this past week? Do I lean on Him for purity of life and power to obey God?

(4) Is my daily desire to bear witness of Christ to those who are lost and perishing? The power of the Spirit isn’t given just to make me happy. It is given to make me holy so that my life and my words bring glory to God as I bear witness to His saving grace. That should be the meaning of Pentecost for you and me.

Spurgeon describes "The Immediate Effects of the Descent of the Holy Spirit"

Because these symbols were not sent in vain, there were two immediate effects: the first was filling, and the second was the gift of utterance. I call special attention to the first, namely, filling. “It filled all the house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:2), and it did not merely fill the house but the man: “They were all filled with the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:4). When they stood up to speak, even the ribald mockers in the crowd noticed this, for they said, “These men are full,” and though they added “of new wine” (Acts 2:13), they evidently detected a singular fullness about them. We are poor, empty things by nature and useless while we remain so. We need to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Where the Spirit of God is truly at work, He first fills and then gives utterance; that is His way. Oh, that you and I were at this moment filled with the Holy Spirit. “Full.” Then they were not cold and dead and empty of life as we sometimes are. “Full.” Then there was no room for anything else in any one of them! They were too completely occupied by the heavenly power to have room for the desires of the flesh. Fear was banished, every minor motive was expelled, and the Spirit of God, as He flooded their very beings, drove out of them everything that was extraneous. They had many faults and many infirmities before, but that day, when they were filled with the Spirit of God, faults and infirmities were no more perceptible. They became different men from what they had ever been before; men full of God are the reverse of men full of self. Out of a full church, the world will receive salvation but never out of an empty one. The first thing we want as a church is to be filled with the Holy Spirit; the gift of utterance will then come as a matter of course.

The next Pentecostal symbol was utterance. As soon as the Spirit of God filled them, they began to speak at once. It seems to me that they began to speak before the people had come together. They could not help it; the inner forces demanded expression, and they had to speak. So when the Spirit of God really comes upon a man, he does not wait until he has gathered an audience of the size which he desires, but he seizes the next opportunity. He speaks to one person, he speaks to two, he speaks to three, and he speaks to anybody. He must speak, for he is full and must have vent.

When the Spirit of God fills a man, he speaks so as to be understood. The crowd spoke different languages, and these Spirit-taught men spoke to them in the languages of the countries in which they were born. This is one of the signs of the Spirit’s utterance. If my friend over yonder talks in a Latinized style to a company of fruit sellers, I will warrant you the Holy Spirit has nothing to do with him. If a learned brother fires over the heads of his congregation with a grand oration, he may trace his elocution, if he likes, to Cicero and Demosthenes, but do not let him ascribe it to the Holy Spirit, for that is not after His manner. The Spirit of God speaks so that His words may be understood; if there is any obscurity, it lies in the language used by the Lord Himself.

The crowd not only understood, but they felt. There were knives in this Pentecostal preaching, and the hearers “were pricked in their heart” (Acts 2:37). The truth wounded men, and the slain of the Lord were many, for the wounds were in the most vital parts. They could not make it out; they had heard speakers before, but this was quite a different thing. The men spoke flames, and one hearer cried to his fellow, “What is this?” The preachers were speaking flames, and the fire dropped into the hearts of men until they were amazed and confounded.

Those are the two effects of the Holy Spirit: a fullness of the Spirit in the ministry and the church and, next, a fire ministry and a church on fire, speaking so as to be felt and understood by those around. Causes produce effects like themselves, and this wind and fire ministry soon did its work. We read that this “was noised abroad” (Acts 2:6). Of course it was, because there had been a noise “as of a rushing mighty wind” (Acts 2:2). Next to that, we read that all the people came together and were confounded. There was naturally a stir, for a great wind from heaven was rushing. All were amazed and astonished, and while some inquired believingly, others began to mock. Of course, they did. There was a fire burning, and fire is a dividing thing. This fire began to separate between the precious and the vile, as it always will do when it comes into operation. We may expect at the beginning of a true revival to observe a movement, a noise, and a stir among the people. These things are not done in a corner. Cities will know of the presence of God, and crowds will be attracted by the event.

This was the immediate effect of the Pentecostal marvel. (From his book "Power for You")

W H Griffith-Thomas - Points to Be Pondered

1. The meaning of Pentecost.

(i) The Spirit on them.

(ii) The Spirit in them.

(iii) The Spirit through them.

2. The message of Pentecost.

(i) Distinct from conversion.

(ii) Intended for service.

(iii) Proved by results.

3. The secret of Pentecost.

(i) Singleness of aim ("one accord") (v. 1).

(ii) Preparedness of spirit ("continuing in prayer") (Acts 1:14; 2:1).

(iii) Willingness of life ("began to speak") (v. 4).

4. The preaching of Pentecost.

(i) Its matter—a personal Christ.

(ii) Its manner—clearly, completely, convincingly.

5. The Church of Pentecost.

(i) Its life expressed—in truth, power, love,

(ii) Its life explained—Christ for them, a Saviour accepted; Christ in them, a Friend experienced; Christ through them, a Master manifested. (The Acts of the Apostles: Outline Studies in Primitive Christianity)

Spurgeon (Morning and Evening) -  “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” —Acts 2:4 Rich were the blessings of this day if all of us were filled with the Holy Ghost. The consequences of this sacred filling of the soul it would be impossible to overestimate. Life, comfort, light, purity, power, peace; and many other precious blessings are inseparable from the Spirit’s benign presence. As sacred oil, He anoints the head of the believer, sets him apart to the priesthood of saints, and gives him grace to execute his office aright. As the only truly purifying water He cleanses us from the power of sin and sanctifies us unto holiness, working in us to will and to do of the Lord’s good pleasure (Php 2:13+). As the light, He manifested to us at first our lost estate, and now He reveals the Lord Jesus to us and in us, and guides us in the way of righteousness. Enlightened by His pure celestial ray, we are no more darkness but light in the Lord (Eph 5:8+). As fire, He both purges us from dross, and sets our consecrated nature on a blaze. He is the sacrificial flame by which we are enabled to offer our whole souls as a living sacrifice unto God (Ro 12:1+). As heavenly dew, He removes our barrenness and fertilizes our lives. O that He would drop from above upon us at this early hour! Such morning dew would be a sweet commencement for the day. As the dove, with wings of peaceful love He broods over his Church and over the souls of believers, and as a Comforter He dispels the cares and doubts which mar the peace of His beloved. He descends upon the chosen as upon the Lord in Jordan, and bears witness to their sonship by working in them a filial spirit by which they cry Abba, Father (Ro 8:14-15+). As the wind, He brings the breath of life to men; blowing where He listeth He performs the quickening operations by which the spiritual creation is animated and sustained (Jn 3:8, 6:63). Would to God, that we might feel His presence this day and every day.

Alan Carr - Through preaching people may be convinced of truth, but they will remain mere corpses until the Spirit of God breathes upon them. Undoubtedly, this is why our Lord told His disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they were spiritually endued with power from on high, Luke 24:49+. Then came the day of Pentecost when there was “a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind,” Acts 2:2, and at once their preaching ministry was vitalized. As they spoke, dead men and women came to life. This is still God's method of bringing the purpose of the Gospel to fulfillment. It is our obligation to see that we not only preach with divine urgency, but pray with divine fervency. We must be satisfied with nothing less than the outpouring of the Spirit of God. The world of lifeless, useless, and hopeless men and women will never be changed unless the Holy Spirit breathes upon the preaching as well as upon the people. Let us pray for the Gospel, the preachers, the teachers, the churches, the missionaries, and the witnesses. Let us pray with fervency that God will honor His Word, breath on the lost and draw many to Jesus Christ for salvation. Unless He draws them to Himself, they will never be saved (John 6:44). It is our responsibility to tells them, and it is our responsibility to pray with urgency that they might be saved. May God give us eyes to see the condition of the lost. May He give us ears to hear their cries. May He give us a heart that feels their pain. May He help us see them like He sees them, so that we will develop the kind of burden for them that dwelt in Him. William Lee said, “It is not the arithmetic of our prayers, how many they are; nor the rhetoric of our prayers, how eloquent they are; nor the geometry of our prayers, how long they be; nor the music of our prayers, how sweet our voice may be; nor the logic of our prayers, how argumentative they may be; nor the method of our prayers, how orderly they may be-which God cares for. Fervency of spirit is that which availeth much.”

Steven Cole - Last Sunday, Marla and I listened to a powerful sermon by John Piper, which he gave to 50,000 college students. He began by telling of two elderly women who had given their “retirement” years to go to Cameroon for the sake of the gospel. They had been killed when their brakes gave out and their car plunged over a cliff. He asked, “Was that a tragedy?” He answered, “No, that wasn’t a tragedy. Let me tell you about a tragedy.” He cited a Reader’s Digest article about how many Americans are taking early retirement so that they can pursue their own pleasure. One couple had bought a yacht and spent their time sailing off the coast of Florida, collecting seashells. Piper said, “Now, that’s a tragedy!” Can you imagine this couple standing before God at the judgment and saying, “Here’s our seashell collection, Lord”? God’s purpose at Pentecost was to equip His church with the mighty power of the Holy Spirit so that we would be His witnesses to all the nations, resulting in His eternal glory. I want you to ask yourself these questions as you think about this purpose:

(1) *Is my focus on God’s glory in all things? Did I even think about that as I went through my week? Did it determine how I resisted temptation or how I spoke to others?
(2) *Is my passion that the nations would glorify God through the gospel? If my heart is not on world missions, it is not in tune with God’s heart.
(3) *Is my daily life consciously dependent on the Holy Spirit? Would I have missed Him if He had withdrawn from me this past week? Do I lean on Him for purity of life and power to obey God?
(4) *Is my daily desire to bear witness of Christ to those who are lost and perishing? The power of the Spirit isn’t given just to make me happy. It is given to make me holy so that my life and my words bring glory to God as I bear witness to His saving grace. That should be the meaning of Pentecost for you and me. (The Meaning of Pentecost Acts 2:1-13)

Adrian Rogers (from his sermon entitled "The Church Aflame" on Acts 2) 

I want to mention tonight four or five things that are the ingredients of "A Church Aflame"—a church that will make an impact on this community, or any community. And, the very first thing is what I'm going to call supernatural power. What happened there on the day of Pentecost? God gave a demonstration of the power that He had promised in Acts 1:8: "But ye shall receive power, after the Holy Spirit is come upon you" (Acts 1:8). Now, I want to say that this power was visualized, this power was vocalized, and this power was vitalized.

A. Visualized Power

1. Sound of Wind
Now, first of all, it was visualized. There sat upon every man's head a flame of fire. They looked like 120 human candles with a flame just flickering above every man's head. And, there was in that building the sound of a cyclone, like a tornado, on the inside—wind and fire. Now, this was a visualization of this power. The sound of the wind was a symbol of the Spirit; because Jesus equated the Holy Spirit with the wind. In John 3:8, Jesus said, "The wind bloweth where it willeth, and thou hearest the sound of it, but canst not tell from where it cometh, and where it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit" (John 3:8). This wind was an emblem, a symbol, of God's Holy Spirit. Thank God for the wind. That wind comes from the heavens. That wind moves at its own will—it is commanded by nobody. It is mysterious. And, yet it operates according to fixed laws. And, wind is the symbol of the Holy Spirit of God.

A preacher was going to preach on the wind being an emblem of the Spirit of God, and he said, "Who really would know the most about the wind?" And, he said, "I know who I'll talk to. There's an old sea captain down here, and he sails by the winds, one of those old schooners." And, he went down, and he talked to him. He said, "Captain, tell me everything you know about the wind." He thought he was going to get a long speech, but the captain said, "To tell you the truth, I know very little about the wind. It's so mysterious." But, he did say, "I'll tell you what I do know: I know how to set my sails." And, I thought, "Oh God," when I heard that, "that's what I want. I don't want to be able to understand the Holy Sprit. Who can? But, I want to know how to set my sails when the wind of God's Spirit blows." Thank God for that wind.

2. Sight of Fire
There was the sound, in verse 2, but then also there was the sight—the sight in verse 3: "And there appeared unto them cloven tongues as of fire" (Acts 2:3). Fire also is an emblem of the Holy Spirit. Why? Because fire spreads and fire consumes. It was said of John the Baptist that he was a burning and shining light. There can be no shining unless there's burning. And, our Lord wants to consume our lives for His glory.

Fire warms. God forgive our cold services, if we have them.

Robert Burns, the Scottish poet, went into a church and sat down. Nobody greeted him. The song service was absolutely as dead as a wedge; it sounded like a couple of calves dying in a hailstorm. Everything was cold. The minister was cold. Nobody knew who Robert Burns was. But, Robert Burns picked up a hymnal—somebody found it later—and he wrote in the back of that hymnal:

    As cold a wind as ever blew,
    A cold church, and in it but few,
    As cold a minister as ever spoke—
    You shall all be hot before I come back! (In Lamington Church by Robert Burns)

He put that in the hymnal and left it. Oh, dear friend, fire warms. I believe in a warm service. I'll tell you something else that fire does: Fire purges. It cleanses. It purifies. Something else that fire does: Fire illumines. It gives us light. Another thing that fire does: Fire energizes, and our great engines are run by fire. Now, all of this is telling us that the Holy Spirit is symbolized by wind and by fire. And, so first of all, we see this power visualized; or if you'd rather, we see this power symbolized.

B. Vocalized Power
But, then not only was it visualized, it was also vocalized. Notice, if you will now, beginning with verse 4: "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:4). Now, this was miraculous and inexplicable. Those 120 disciples began to speak in foreign languages. Now, remember: there were people there from all over the known world. There were people who did not have common languages. It was a polyglot. And, yet there, 120 disciples began to speak in languages that they were not familiar with. This was not nonsensical gibberish. This was not nonsensical sound. They were known languages. Notice in verse 5: "And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because every man heard them speak in his own language" (Acts 2:5).

Now, what was this? This power was vocalized as a sign gift to the Jews. Now, I want you to understand that tongues are given for a specific purpose—as a sign to the Jewish nation. Now, if you don't mind writing in the margin of your Bible, just write there: 1 Corinthians 14:21, 22. The Apostle Paul explains this when he says, "In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me"—"this people" means the Jews—"saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe..." Tongues are not signs to God's people about anything. Sometimes people say, "Oh, if you speak in tongues, then that's a sign that you're spiritual." No, tongues are not signs to God's people about anything. "Wherefore, tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not; but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them who believe" (1 Corinthians 14:21-22). Now, what does that verse tell us? That God gave on the day of Pentecost a sign that would confirm the gospel to the Jews.

Now, speaking in tongues is mentioned three times in the Book of Acts, and we'll see it as we go through the book of Acts. Each time, when the act of speaking in tongues is mentioned, Jews are present and unbelieving Jews are in the background. As we study this gift, we see that it was a temporary gift. The Apostle Paul said, "whether there be tongues, they shall cease" (1 Corinthians 13:8). Now, you can argue when they will cease or when they have ceased, or you can say that God still does that.

But, I'm telling you that the Bible says that tongues will cease of themselves. That was a transitional thing and a temporary thing.

Sometimes people have the idea that today, if you're spiritual, then you will speak in tongues. Well, let me say that if you do speak in tongues, and it is biblical tongues, then it will be a foreign language that you've never learned, and somebody that knows that language will be able to understand it. But, let me say this, dear friend, and I don't want to be misunderstood, because I believe many wonderful, wonderful people believe contrary to what I believe about this, and I love them—they're my brothers and sisters in Christ. But, the real mark of spirituality is not speaking in tongues. The most carnal church Paul had majored in that gift. The real mark of spirituality is controlling the one tongue that you do have. Really, that the law of kindness and love is in your mouth, and that that tongue is used to glorify Jesus, to praise Jesus, and to preach the gospel of Christ. But, now God is doing something here, because He's inaugurating a new age.

And, so this power was visualized. And, then this power was vocalized. But, those were incidental things. God is only inaugurating things again. But, there are even people who today say, "Oh, we need to repeat Pentecost." No, we don't. And, no one ever has. If you repeActs ated Pentecost, then not only would you have the tongues, but you'd also have the flames of fire. Not only would you have the flame of fire, but you'd also have the cyclone. Do you understand what I'm talking about? We're not repeating Pentecost. We don't need to repeat Pentecost any more than we need to repeat Bethlehem or Calvary. Bethlehem was God with us. Calvary was God for us. Pentecost is God in us. Thank God for all of those things. We're not trying to repeat them but to thank God for them, because we're going to enjoy them. And, I'm going to receive the truth of Bethlehem, Calvary, and Pentecost and live by it.

C. Vitalized Power
So, that brings me to the next thing. Not only was this power visualized and vocalized, but it was also vitalized. If you will, look now at the real miracle in verse 4: "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:4). Now, ladies and gentlemen, that is what men, women, boys, and girls need today: to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God. And, I hope and I pray that you are filled with the Holy Spirit of God. Now, as I told you this morning, the baptism was once for all. That is an accomplished work for every child of God. You cannot be a child of God without having the baptism of the Holy Spirit, for the Apostle Paul says, "For by one Spirit were we all baptized into one body" (1 Corinthians 12:13). And, if you are saved, then you have the baptism of the Holy Spirit. You're not told to seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit—you're told to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 5:18: "And be not drunk with wine, in which is excess, but be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18).

Actually, there are a number of works of the Holy Spirit. For example, there is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. What is the baptism of the Holy Spirit? The baptism of the Holy Spirit is that act of God in which He places you into the Body of Christ—when you are baptized into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit, when you get saved. If you're saved, then that's happened to you. 1 Corinthians 12:13, all right? And, then there is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Not only does He place you into the Body of Christ, but He also comes into you, to live in you. "Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his" (Romans 8:9). Now, some people will tell you, "Well, you can get saved, and then, later on, you receive the Holy Spirit." Oh no. It's impossible to be saved without receiving the Holy Spirit. "Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." By the baptism of the Spirit, you're placed into the Body of Christ. The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is when Christ comes into you. And, then there's the sealing of the Holy Spirit, in which you are sealed into Christ: "After ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise" (Ephesians 1:13).

I wish that I had time to talk about all of those things, but let me tell you that those things, dear friends, just tell us that, once we are children of God, we're children of God forever; because these are acts of the Holy Spirit of God, never to be withdrawn. The baptism, the indwelling, and the sealing of the Spirit of God, tell us that we are a part of the Body once and for all. Now, those things are done and accomplished in the heart and life of a Christian. But, the filling of the Spirit is not. The filling of the Spirit is conditional. And, it depends upon you—your receptivity, your surrender, and your faith.

And, you are filled with the Spirit to make weaklings into witnesses. On the day of Pentecost, 120 disciples led 3,000 to Christ. Today, 3,000 can't even lead 120 to Christ. And, the reason is that we've not understood the fullness of the Spirit.

There's one other act of the Spirit. There's the baptism of the Spirit, the indwelling of the Spirit, the sealing of the Spirit, the filling with the Spirit, and then, there's the anointing of the Spirit. What is the anointing? Jesus was anointed with the Holy Ghost and with power, as the Bible says. At His baptism, when the Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus, that was not when He was filled with the Spirit. Jesus was already filled with the Spirit. Do you think that Jesus lived thirty years without being filled with the Spirit? Of course not. Why, if John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother's womb, would his Lord be less? No. Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit from His childhood, but He was anointed with the Spirit when His ministry began. What is the anointing? The anointing is a special touch for a specific task. And, if you have a specific task to do—to preach, to sing, to witness—then pray, "O God, I know, Lord, that you dwell in me. Now Lord, fill me. Take every part. And, O God, anoint me. Anoint me, O God. Let that unction, that power, be on me."

In a country church, a preacher asked a deacon to dismiss everyone in prayer. The deacon prayed, and in the midst of that prayer, he said, "Lord, unctionize our pastor. Unctionize our pastor." And, the pastor didn't exactly like that prayer. He met the old deacon at the church door, and he said, "Deacon, that was a good prayer that you prayed, but you asked God to unctionize me." Then he said, "What does that word unctionize mean?" The deacon said, "Reverend, I ain't sure what it does mean; but whatever it means, you ain't got it." Friend, whatever it means, I want it. I want that anointing in my heart and in my life.

The Power Of Pentecost

Read: Acts 2:1-17 

You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me. —Acts 1:8

A pastor I know and love is discouraged. Although he is diligent in prayer and works hard, his church remains small while a new congregation nearby is rapidly developing into a megachurch. Yet when I think of the alcoholics, drug addicts, and sexually immoral people he has led to the Savior and a new way of life, I see him as one who witnesses in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Because of what happened on the Day of Pentecost (described in Acts 2), we tend to associate the Holy Spirit’s presence and power with amazing phenomena and large numbers. We forget that a little later the same people filled with the same Holy Spirit were rejected, flogged, imprisoned, even executed. But through it all they were powerful witnesses!

The Holy Spirit’s presence and power can be evidenced in a dynamic preacher who attracts great audiences. But it is seen as well in the volunteer who carries on a one-on-one prison ministry, in the person who witnesses to a co-worker or a neighbor, and in the Sunday school teacher who faithfully teaches week after week.

The power of Pentecost is not especially reserved for the highly gifted. Rather, it is available to all believers in Christ who want to serve Him.

God’s guidance and help that we need day to day
Are given to all who believe;
The Spirit has come and He is the source
Of power that we can receive. —Branon

The power of God’s Spirit gives power to our witness.

By Herbert Vander Lugt  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Acts 2:5  Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.

KJV Acts 2:5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

  • Now there were Jews living in JerusalemActs 2:1; 8:27; Exodus 23:16; Isa 66:18; Zech 8:18; Luke 24:18; John 12:20
  • devout Acts 8:2; 10:2,7; 13:50; 22:12; Luke 2:25
  • from every nation under heaven Dt 2:25; Mt 24:14; Luke 17:24; Col 1:23
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Now there were Jews (ioudaios) living in Jerusalem - Some interpret this to mean these Jews were visiting pilgrims while others interpret this to mean these were Jews living in Jerusalem who had previously lived in foreign lands. The point is that the speaking to be described in Acts 2:6ff was directed to a Jewish audience, both pilgrims (as there undoubtedly were given the fact that it was the Day of Pentecost) and permanent inhabitants. 

Utley combines these two interpretations - There were (1) probably pilgrims from all over the Mediterranean area who had come to Jerusalem for Passover and stayed until Pentecost or (2) permanent residents who had moved from somewhere outside of Jerusalem (cf. use of the word in Acts 4:16; 7:24; 9:22, 32).

Alexander on living in Jerusalem - The word translated dwelling does not of itself denote either permanent or temporary residence, but rather the act of settling or beginning to reside, as in Matt. 2:23; 4:13; 12:45; Luke 11:26; Acts 7:2, 4, whether the subsequent abode be temporary, as in Heb. 11:9, or permanent, as in Acts 9:32; 17:26, and often in the book of Revelation, where it is a favourite expression for the general idea of inhabitation. There is nothing therefore to confine the word here to Jews who had come to end their lives in Jerusalem, as they have done in all ages, or to such as had come merely to attend the feast. The special reference, if any, would be naturally to the latter. All that is expressly said, however, is that there were then present at Jerusalem, either as visitors or constant residents, representatives of every nation under heaven.

NET Note - The verb katoikeo normally means "reside" or "dwell," and archaeological evidence from tombs in Jerusalem does indicate that many families immigrated to Jerusalem permanently. 

Living (2730)(katoikeo from kata which intensifies the meaning of the verb oikeo = dwell, reside in, inhabit as one's abode from oikos = a house) means literally to settle down (be at home, dwell) in a place so to take up permanent abode or residence. Robertson adds that "Usually katoikeō means residence in a place (Acts 4:16; Acts 7:24; Acts 9:22, 32) as in Acts 2:14 (Luke 13:4). Perhaps some had come to Jerusalem to live while others were here only temporarily, for the same word occurs in Acts 2:9 of those who dwell in Mesopotamia, etc."  (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

Luke's uses of katoikeo -

Lk. 11:26; Lk. 13:4; Acts 1:19; Acts 1:20; Acts 2:5; Acts 2:9; Acts 2:14; Acts 4:16; Acts 7:2; Acts 7:4; Acts 7:48; Acts 9:22; Acts 9:32; Acts 9:35; Acts 11:29; Acts 13:27; Acts 17:24; Acts 17:26; Acts 19:10; Acts 19:17; Acts 22:12

Devout men - The fact that they were keeping the Feast of Pentecost (one of 3 required feasts Jewish males were to attend annually) indicates they were devout, which in English means deeply religious, showing deep religious feeling or commitment, totally committed to a cause. Of course the tragedy is that many of these very religious men were trapped by the law, seeking a sense of self-righteousness like the Pharisees. Being devout saves no one. Only being a disciple of Christ saves. NIV has "God-fearing" but it is not the best translation because that term is more often applied to Gentiles who are God fearing, like Cornelius (Acts 10:2). Luke always uses devout (eulabes) of Jews in the Gospel and Acts.

Utley on devout - In the case of first century Judaism, it implies a reverence toward God and the traditions of the Elders (i.e. Oral Traditions, which became the Talmud). These were pious, religious men (cf. Acts 8:2; 22:12; Luke 2:25).

Vincent on devout (eulabes) - Used by Luke only. The kindred word, eulabeia, godly-fear, occurs twice (piety of Jesus in Hebrews 5:7; service to God should be with "reverence" = Heb 12:28). From εὖ, well, and λαμβάνω, to take hold of. Hence of a circumspect or cautious person who takes hold of things carefully. As applied to morals and religion, it emphasizes the element of circumspection, a cautious, careful observance of divine law; and is thus peculiarly expressive of Old Testament piety, with its minute attention to precept and ceremony. (Word Studies in the New Testament)

Alexander on devout - The Greek epithet (eulabes) originally signifies cautious, timid, but in Hellenistic usage is applied to the fear of God. The Geneva Bible has expressly, Jews that feared God; Wiclif, after the Vulgate, religious men...Its introduction here is not unmeaning, as it shows that the effusion of the Holy Ghost was attested by the most competent and trustworthy witnesses, Jews of the most serious and perhaps most bigoted character, who at the same time represented every nation under heaven.

Devout (2126)(eulabes from eu = well + lambano = to receive, take hold) literally means taking hold of something well and hence cautious, reverentdevoutpious. It means persons who handle spiritual matters carefully. In the NT the idea is God-fearing. Friberg adds this was "a characteristic of one who carefully observes the law." Comparing these men to modern Judaism, these Jews would probably be considered "Orthodox." It is used only by Luke and in Luke-Acts is never used of Gentiles, only Jews. In Lk. 2:25  we man "a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him." This description indicates Simeon was an OT believer in Messiah. Paul uses eulabes to describe "A certain Ananias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law, and well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there (Damascus)" (Acts 22:12) In Acts 8:2 Luke records that some "devout men buried Stephen (clearly a believer in Messiah), and made loud lamentation over him." The status of these devout Jews in Acts 2 is uncertain as to whether they were believers or not, but clearly they are men who have a fear of God, which is how the old Geneva Bible translates it "Jews that feared God." Wycliffe ("religious men").  NIV = "God fearing."

Every nation under heaven was a common idiom did not mean the entire world but in this context referred to those lands as a result of the Jewish diaspora who were spread throughout the "civilized" world at the time. 

Kistemaker adds "We observe that the gospel comes to the Jew first and not to the Gentile, as Jesus instructed his disciples when he sent them on their missionary tour: “Do not go toward the Gentiles.… But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Mt 10:5–6). God-fearing Jews from abroad settled in the holy city. “It was the wish of pious Jews of the Dispersion to spend their last days on the soil of the holy land and to be buried there....After the Babylonian captivity, not all the Jewish people returned to Palestine. Many remained in Persia and Mesopotamia. Others were deported from Babylon to Asia Minor during the fourth and third centuries before Christ. Still others settled in Egypt, especially in the city of Alexandria, or traveled west to Rome. Jews resided everywhere in the Roman empire, from east to west, for they were a scattered people.

Every nation under heaven suggests an allusion to a "reversal" of Genesis 11 when God (? the Spirit) came down to the people and confused their languages...

Ge 11:4 They said, “Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.”....(11:7 = God's Response) “Come, let Us go down and there confuse (Heb - balal - mingle, confuse, confound; Lxx = sugcheo - used in Acts 2:6 = "bewildered") their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.”

Paul Apple - This sign miracle (in Acts 2:5) could be viewed as a reversal of the judgment that took place at the Tower of Babel. Remember the Lord’s worldwide charge to Noah after the flood: “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” (Ge 9:1, 7)  Instead the people in pride determined to make a great name for themselves and resist being scattered over the face of the earth. The multiplication of languages (in Genesis 12) facilitated God’s worldwide mission. (Ed: Now in Acts 2, the "multiplication of languages" spoken would work to facilitate Jesus' charge in Acts 1:8. And so in a sense, Acts 2:5 gives us an initial fulfilling of Jesus' teaching in Acts 1:8 where He says that Spirit empowered believers were to be His witnesses to "even to the remotest part of the earth.”)  (Acts Commentary)

Warren Wiersbe -  Pentecost was a reversal of the judgment at the Tower of Babel when God confused man’s language (Gen. 11:1-9). God’s judgment at Babel scattered the people, but God’s blessings at Pentecost united the believers in the Spirit. At Babel, the people were unable to understand each other, but at Pentecost, men heard God’s praises and understood what was said. The Tower of Babel was a scheme designed to praise men and make a name for men, but Pentecost brought praise to God. The building of Babel was an act of rebellion, but Pentecost was a ministry of humble submission to God. What a contrast! (Bible Exposition Commentary)

John Stott - “Ever since the early church fathers, commentators have seen the blessing of Pentecost as a deliberate and dramatic reversal of the curse of Babel.”  (Borrow The message of Acts : the Spirit, the church & the world)

Acts 2:6   And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language.

KJV Acts 2:6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.

  • And when this sound occurred Acts 3:11; 1 Cor 16:9; 2 Cor 2:12
  • were bewildered Mt 2:3
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together - While the believers speaking in foreign languages created sounds, it is much more likely that the sound which drew them to the Spirit filled disciples was the noise like a violent rushing wind. (Acts 2:2). God drew the unbelieving Jews with a supernatural sound from Heaven and then bewildered them with more sounds from supernaturally enabled, Spirit filled men! There is an application to us today. The fact that God had gotten the attention those who heard the noise (sound) begs the question "Does God have your (my) attention?" He uses a variety of "sounds" (so to speak) to get our attention including trials, difficulties, hardships, pressures, providential occurrences. etc.  He humbles us in a variety of ways so that we come to sense and acknowledge our need to seek His face. Beloved, it is a lot less painful to just pay attention to God rather than force Him to bring about loud "noises" (so to speak) in our lives to gain our attention! Is their divinely sent/allowed "noise" in your life which you are ignoring?

Sound is not echos as in Acts 2:2 but phone used about 140x in the NT describing a range of sounds such as from the wind (comparing the sound of the wind to the Spirit in Jn 3:8), to instruments (1 Cor 14:7,8, voice like a trumpet = Rev 1:10+) to the voice of the Bridegroom (Jn 3:29), to the voice of the Father from Heaven (Lk 3:22, 9:35, 2 Pe 1:17,18) and the voice of one crying out in the wilderness (Jn 1:23, Is 40:3)

J Vernon McGee on when the sound occurred - I shall never forget here in Pasadena, where I live, the first time we heard a jet plane break the sound barrier (listen). We were all out in our front yards wanting to know where the sound had come from. We had never heard anything like it before. The sound the people of Jerusalem heard had never been heard before; so they came rushing toward it—which may have been to the temple area. Probably all 120 believers were there (Acts 1:15). (Thru the Bible)

The crowd - Lk 2:5 says the crowd was composed of men from every nation and thus they would be able to understand specific foreign languages being spoken by the 120 Spirit filled believers.

Crowd (4128)(plethos from pletho = to fill, make full) describes literally a fullness or magnitude and thus a large number or multitude

Gingrich 1. quantity or number Heb 11:12.—2. large number, multitude—a. of things w. gen. Lk 5:6; bundle Acts 28:3; host Jas 5:20.—b. of persons—1. crowd, throng, host Mk 3:7f; Lk 2:13; 6:17; Acts 5:14; 21:36.—2. a meeting, assembly Lk 23:1; Acts 23:7.—c. people, populace, population Lk 8:37; Ac 2:6; 5:16; 14:4; 25:24.—d. community, church, fellowship Lk 1:10; 19:37; Acts 4:32; 6:5; 15:12, 30; 19:9. [English word - plethora

Plethos - 30x in 30v - assembly(1), body(1), bundle(1), congregation(4), crowd(3), great number(1), multitude(7), multitudes(1), number(1), number of people(2), people(6), quantity(1), throng(1). Mk. 3:7; Mk. 3:8; Lk. 1:10; Lk. 2:13; Lk. 5:6; Lk. 6:17; Lk. 8:37; Lk. 19:37; Lk. 23:1; Lk. 23:27; Jn. 5:3; Jn. 21:6; Acts 2:6; Acts 4:32; Acts 5:14; Acts 5:16; Acts 6:2; Acts 6:5; Acts 14:1; Acts 14:4; Acts 15:12; Acts 15:30; Acts 19:9; Acts 21:36; Acts 23:7; Acts 25:24; Acts 28:3; Heb. 11:12; Jas. 5:20; 1 Pet. 4:8

Plethos - Ge 16:10; 17:4; 27:28; 30:30; 32:12; 36:7; 48:16,19; Ex 1:9; 8:24; 12:6; 15:7; 19:21; 23:2; 32:13; 36:5; Lev. 25:36; Nu 32:1; Dt. 1:10; 10:22; 26:5; 28:47,62; Jos. 11:4; Jdg. 4:7; 6:5; 7:12; 1 Sam. 1:16; 13:5; 2 Sam. 17:11; 18:29; 1 Ki. 1:19,25; 4:20; 7:47; 10:10,27; 2 Ki. 7:13; 19:23; 1 Chr. 4:38; 12:40; 22:3-5,8,14-15; 29:16,21; 2 Chr. 1:15; 2:9; 4:18; 5:6; 9:1,6,9,27; 11:12,23; 12:3; 13:8; 14:11; 16:8; 20:2,12,24; 30:5,17,24; 31:5,10,18; 32:29; Neh. 5:18; 9:25; 13:22; Job 31:34; 33:19; 35:9; Ps. 5:7,10; 10:3; 31:19; 33:16-17; 37:11; 44:12; 49:6; 51:1; 52:7; 64:2; 66:3; 69:13,16; 72:7; 77:16; 94:19; 106:7,45; 145:7; 147:4; 150:2; Pr 5:23; Eccl. 1:18; 5:3,7,10-11; 6:3; 11:1; Isa. 1:11; 5:13; 17:12; 21:15; 28:2; 31:1,4; 37:24; 51:10; 63:7,15; Jer. 10:13; 13:22; 30:16; 46:16; 49:32; 51:13,27; Lam. 1:3,5; 3:32; Ezek. 19:11; 23:42; 26:10,13; 27:12,16,18,25,33; 28:9,16-18; 30:10,15; 31:2,6-7,9,15,18; 32:6,32; 39:4,11; 47:10; Dan. 2:35; 10:1; Hos. 4:7; 8:12; 9:7; 10:1,13; Mic. 4:13; Nah. 2:13; 3:3-4; Zech. 2:4; 8:4; 9:10; 14:14

Came together (assembled, gathered)(4905)(sunerchomai from sun = with, together + erchomai = to come) means to get together for a specific purpose, in this case because of the sound they heard from the room where the 120 disciples were staying.

Kistemaker - We presume that the God-fearing Jews were at least bilingual, if not trilingual. Living in Jerusalem, they conversed in Aramaic. And if they had come from the parts of the Roman empire west and north of Israel, they would know Greek. But they also learned the languages of their native countries. They now hear these languages spoken by people who are not residents of these countries but who are Galileans. (Ibid)

Wiersbe - Another reason for this gift of tongues was to let the people know that the Gospel was for the whole world. God wants to speak to every person in his or her own language and give the saving message of salvation in Jesus Christ. The emphasis in the Book of Acts is on worldwide evangelization, "unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). "The Spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions," said Henry Martyn, (note) "and the nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we must become." (Bible Exposition Commentary)

Bewildered is also translated confounded, a verb which means to be confused or perplexed, unable to think clearly, especially by a sudden disturbance or surprise. 

Were bewildered (4797)(sugcheo/sugchunno from sun = with, together + cheo = to pour) literally means to pour together "precisely like the Latin confundo, to confound" (Robertson), not a meaning found in the NT. Figuratively, it means to cause dismay, confound, be thrown into confusion, be amazed, be stirred up (Acts 2:6). In the acts sense it means to stir up trouble. It is interesting that this verb is used to describe the confusion of languages at the Tower of Babel so that men could not understand one another (Ge 11:7). Here in Acts 2 we see a "reversal" in a sense of what God did at Babel, Moses recording "its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of the whole earth." (Ge 11:9) 

Sugcheo/sugchunno 5x in 5v only in Acts - bewildered(1), confounding(1), confusion(2), stir(1).

Acts 2:6  And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language.
Acts 9:22  But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ. 
Acts 19:32 So then, some were shouting one thing and some another, for the assembly was in confusion and the majority did not know for what reason they had come together.
Acts 21:27 When the seven days were almost over, the Jews from Asia, upon seeing him in the temple, began to stir up all the crowd and laid hands on him,
Acts 21:31 While they were seeking to kill him, a report came up to the commander of the Roman cohort that all Jerusalem was in confusion.

Sugcheo in the Septuagint - Gen. 11:7; Gen. 11:9; 1 Sam. 7:10 = "a great thunder on that day against the Philistines and confused them, so that they were routed before Israel"; 1 Ki. 20:43; Joel 2:1; Joel 2:10; Amos 3:15; Jon. 4:1; Mic. 7:17; Nah. 2:4; 

Genesis 11:7  “Come, let Us go down and there confuse (Hebrew = balal = mix, mingle, confuse, confound; Lxx = sugcheo) their language, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.”

Genesis 11:9 Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the LORD confused (Hebrew = balal = mix, mingle, confuse, confound; Lxx = sugcheo) the language of the whole earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of the whole earth.

Joel 2:1+  Blow a trumpet in Zion, And sound an alarm on My holy mountain! Let all the inhabitants of the land tremble (Heb = ragaz = be agitated, perturbed; Lxx = sugcheo - confounded), for the day of the LORD is coming; Surely it is near, 

Because - This term of explanation explains why the Jewish crowd was bewildered

Each one of them - Each is hekastos meaning in this context to each one separately. The addition of "one" (heis) even more strongly singles out each one of the Jews in the crowd. Each one had a personal "auditory witness" that something very unique and unusual was transpiring that day. One can be assured that the attention of each Jew in the crowd was riveted on these events. The Spirit was preparing them for Peter's proclamation of the Gospel!

Robertson - Each one could understand his own language when he heard that. Every one that came heard somebody speaking in his native tongue. (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

Was hearing them speak in his own language - Was hearing is imperfect tense signifying this was happening again and again, implying the Spirit filled believers were also speaking again and again, not just one sentence or one word in a foreign language.

The word language (see dialektos below) means they heard not just that it was their foreign language, but that it was even in their own dialect! Vincent explains that "since the foreigners present spoke, not only different languages, but different dialects of the same language. The Phrygians and Pamphylians, for instance, both spoke Greek, but in different idioms; the Parthians, Medes, and Elamites all spoke Persian, but in different provincial forms." 

Acts 2:7   They were amazed and astonished, saying, "Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans?

KJV Acts 2:7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?

  • amazed Acts 2:12; 3:10; 14:11,12; Mark 1:27; 2:12
  • are not all these who are speaking Galileans Acts 1:11; Mt 4:18-22; 21:11; John 7:52
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


They were amazed and astonished - The NET translation combines these two descriptions - "Completely baffled." Both of the verbs are in the imperfect tense picturing this crowd repeatedly amazed and astonished. Their wonder grew and grew at what they were hearing! The sound like a wind drew the crowd, but the sound of Galileans speaking foreign languages captured the attention and awe of the crowd. 

Robertson says amazed means "to stand out of themselves, wide-open astonishment." (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

Amazed (astounded, besides one's self) (1839)( existemi from ek = out + hístemi = to stand) literally means to stand out from or to stand outside oneself (and thus to be beside oneself). To put out of position, to displace or to change. To remove from its place. For example Aristotle writes "you won't budge (existemi) me from my position on these matters."  The NT uses of existemi are all related in some way to the human mind. Richards adds that existemi "suggests astonishment mixed with anxiety, stimulated by extraordinary events that cannot be explained." BDAG says existemi describes ""the feeling of astonishment mingled with fear, caused by events which are miraculous, extraordinary, or difficult to understand."

Astonished (2296)(thaumazo from thauma [from thaomai = to wonder] = wonder, admiration) means to wonder, marvel, be struck with admiration or astonishment. Thaumazo describes the human response when confronted by divine revelation in some form (Mt 9.33). Be surprised (Gal 1:6). It denotes incredulous surprise.

Longnecker -Galileans had difficulty pronouncing gutturals and had the habit of swallowing syllables when speaking; so they were looked down upon by the people of Jerusalem as being provincial (cf. Mark 14:70). Therefore, since the disciples who were speaking were Galileans, it bewildered those who heard because the disciples could not by themselves have learned so many different languages. (Expositor's Bible Commentary)

Zodhiates on Galileans - The Galileans were brave and industrious, though the other Jews regarded them as stupid, unpolished, and seditious, and therefore, proper objects of contempt (John 1:47; 7:52). (Word Study NT Dictionary)

Why - This word why is literally behold, a word used to get someone's attention.

Are not all these who are speaking Galileans (cf Acts 1:11+) - How did they know they were Galileans? The text does not tell us - was it their clothing, their dialect (cf Mt. 26:73), etc. We cannot be dogmatic. What we can be dogmatic about is that the Judeans in the south generally felt contempt for the Galileans in the north, who were regarded as compromised by too close an association with Gentiles. Their region (map of upper and lower Galilee) was historically known as “Galilee of the Gentiles,” and it was still called by that name in Jesus' day (Isa 9:1; Mt. 4:15). The Galileans were the "hayseeds" of Israel, for they were not considered to be very intelligent or interested in culture. We might refer to them today as "country bumpkins" a word we use to describe people from the countryside who are considered to be awkward and stupid. So it was especially shocking to hear them speaking foreign languages. Recall that Jesus had called all of His apostles from Galilee, and none from Judea, with the possible exception of Judas Iscariot. 

Wikipedia - The term Galilean dialect generally refers to the form of Jewish Palestinian Aramaic spoken by people in Galilee during the late Second Temple period, for example at the time of Jesus and the disciples, as distinct from a Judean dialect spoken in Jerusalem.

Vincent on Galileans - Not regarded as a sect, for the name was not given to Christians until afterward; but with reference to their nationality. They used a peculiar dialect, which distinguished them from the inhabitants of Judaea. Compare Mark 14:70. They were blamed for neglecting the study of their language, and charged with errors in grammar and ridiculous mispronunciations. (Word Studies in the New Testament)

A T Robertson has a lengthy note on Galileans - There were few followers of Jesus as yet from Jerusalem. The Galileans spoke a rude Aramaic (Mark 14:70) and probably crude Greek vernacular also. They were not strong on language and yet these are the very people who now show such remarkable linguistic powers. These people who have come together are all Jews and therefore know Aramaic and the vernacular Koiné, but there were various local tongues "wherein we were born" (en hēi egennēthēmen). An example is the Lycaonian (Acts 14:11). These Galilean Christians are now heard speaking these various local tongues. The lists in Acts 2:9-11 are not linguistic, but geographical and merely illustrate how widespread the Dispersion (Diaspora) of the Jews was as represented on this occasion. Jews were everywhere, these "Jews among the nations" (Acts 21:21). Page notes four main divisions here: (1) The Eastern or Babylonian, like the Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Mesopotamians. (2) The Syrian like Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia. (3) The Egyptian like Egypt, Libya, Cyrene. (4) The Roman. (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

Acts 2:8   "And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?

KJV - And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?

NLT - and yet we hear them speaking the languages of the lands where we were born!


And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born - The miracles is not their hearing but the Galilean's speaking in the native tongue of the hearers. Notice that each hear, indicating that all who had gathered were impacted by the miraculous speech. God left no one out. 

Language (1258)(dialektos from dialegomai = to dispute, discourse, reason) usually refers to the specific dialect of a region or special district within a nation, speaking of the the form of speech characteristic of a nation or region (I am from Texas and have a definite Texas twang or "dialect"). Dialektos can refer to the language of a country or nation but glossa is used more often for language (as in Acts 2:4, 11)

Dialektos - 6x in 6v -  dialect(3), language(3). Twice in Septuagint - Esther 9:26, Da 1:4 = "language of the Chaldeans" Acts 1:19; Acts 2:6; Acts 2:8; Acts 21:40; Acts 22:2; Acts 26:14

Kistemaker - As the believers are speaking, they demonstrate to the audience that they are praising God in all the languages and dialects of the world. They prove that God’s revelation is not bound to one particular language but that it transcends all variations of human speech. Nevertheless, we observe that God does not repeatedly grant the miracle of speaking in a foreign language. For example, we do not read that Paul and Barnabas address the people of Lystra in their own language (Acts 14:11). (Ibid)

Acts 2:9   "Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,

KJV Acts 2:9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,

  • Medes 2 Kings 17:6; Ezra 6:2; Da 8:20
  • Elamites Ge 10:22; 14:1; Isa 11:11; 21:2; Da 8:2
  • Mesopotamia Acts 7:2; Ge 24:10; Dt 23:4; Jdg 3:8; 1 Chr 19:6
  • Cappadocia 1 Peter 1:1
  • Pontus Acts 18:2; 1 Peter 1:1
  • Asia Acts 6:9; 16:6; 19:10,27,31; 20:16,18; 2 Ti 1:15; Rev 1:4,11
  • ESV Map of Nations at Pentecost
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


POSB (borrow The Preacher's Outline & Sermon Bible) - Luke’s purpose in giving the list seems to stress that people from all over the world were present for Christ to save and to send back to their native lands as servants of His, servants to proclaim the message of the glorious gospel.

Clearly there were no Chinese, Native Americans, etc, but there were Jews from most of the Roman Empire. Stott says "He was speaking, as the biblical writers normally did, from his own horizon not ours, and was referring to the Graeco-Roman world situated round the Mediterranean basin, indeed to every nation in which there were Jews."

The Jews were gathered for a harvest festival, little knowing that many of them would be part of the spiritual harvest of souls. As Chrysostom phrased it ‘the time was come to put in the sickle of the word; for here, as the sickle, keen-edged, came the Spirit  down." 

Henry Alford wrote this poem

    All the world is God’s own field,
    Fruit unto His praise to yield;
    Wheat and tares together sown,
    Unto joy or sorrow grown:
    First the blade, and then the ear,
    Then the full corn shall appear:
    Lord of harvest, grant that we
    Wholesome grain and pure may be.

See Map of Pentecost and the Diaspora - Acts 2:9-10 describes people from three continents. Notice on the map that Luke goes from East to West, the Parthians, the Medes, and the Elamites (see another map), which make up the former Medo-Persian Empire in the region of modern day Iran. To give you an idea of the distances, it is about 500 miles from Parthia to Jerusalem and traveling by camel at rate of 10-20 miles per day would take from 25-50 days. Mesopotamia is east of the previous three locations and in the region of modern day Iraq. Judea would include Jerusalem (map) and would have a dialect distinct from that of Galilee. Then Luke moves north and eastward to Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia (western most region) all in modern day Turkey.

Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome...11   Cretans and Arabs - Luke mentions 15 nations moving from east to west. All of these countries/regions had a considerable Jewish population. 

Kistemaker - Why he lists these nations and omits others (e.g., Greece, Macedonia, Cyprus) is an open question. Luke seems to group the nations in linguistic categories, for his objective in this Pentecost account is to emphasize that the Good News transcends linguistic barriers. (Ibid)

Kistemaker on the eastern most group of three - The Parthians lived south of the Caspian Sea, in an area now known as Iran. In the apostolic era, these people had never been conquered by the Roman armies, spoke a Persian dialect, and allowed the Jews religious freedom. The Medes, who with the Persians had consolidated an empire (refer to Esther 1:3, 18–19; Dan. 5:28; 6:8, 12, 15; 8:20), resided southwest of the Caspian Sea. The Elamites occupied the land directly north of the Persian Gulf to the east of the Tigris River. They became part of the Persian empire but kept their own language. (Ibid)

Residents of Mesopotamia (from mesos = middle + potamos = river = between rivers, Tigris and Euphrates) - This group lived between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The Jews who came to Jerusalem from Mesopotamia actually were residents of Babylon, to which they had been exiled centuries earlier. They were visitors in Jerusalem because they continued to live in Mesopotamia, which is modern Iraq.

The word residents is the same Greek word translated living in Acts 2:5. See note there for discussion of the verb katoikeo

Many commentators have questioned the mention of Judea for one would think their language as residents of Judea was Aramaic (or Greek), but this can be resolved if these are diaspora Jews who had returned from their foreign countries to live in Judea. The language they would have heard would have been that of the foreign country to which they were dispersed. Several commentators suggest another possibility - that Judea is included in the widest sense as the extent of the Empire of David which had extended from the Euphrates (Mesopotamia mentioned just prior) to Egypt. Clearly one cannot be dogmatic regarding the interpretation of why Judea is mentioned. MacArthur adds that "Judea should probably be construed in the broadest sense as all the region once controlled by David and Solomon. That would explain the absence of Syria from the list." 

Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia - These are all in the area known as Asia Minor. Peter addressed his first epistle to the Jewish Christians who were scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia (1 Peter 1:1).

Vincent on Asia - Not the Asiatic continent nor Asia Minor. In the time of the apostles the term was commonly understood of the proconsular province of Asia, principally of the kingdom of Pergamus left by Attalus III. to the Romans, and including Lydia, Mysia, Caria, and at times parts of Phrygia. The name Asia Minor did not come into use until the fourth century of our era. (Word Studies in the New Testament)

Kistemaker - Jews inhabited Asia Minor by the thousands. Therefore, Luke adds the provincial names Phrygia and Pamphylia, located in the southwestern and southern part of Asia Minor respectively. The Jewish historian Josephus records that in the second century B.C., the Syrian ruler Antiochus III deported two thousand Jewish families to Phrygia. During his missionary journeys Paul traveled through Pamphylia (Acts 13:13) and Phrygia (Acts 16:6; 18:23). (Ibid) 

Acts 2:10   Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,

KJV Acts 2:10 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,

  • Phrygia Acts 16:6; 18:23
  • Pamphylia Acts 13:13; 14:24; 15:38; 27:5
  • Egypt Ge 12:10; Isa 19:23-25; Jer 9:26; Hos 11:1; Mt 2:15; Rev 11:8
  • Libya Jer 46:9; Ezek 30:5; Da 11:43
  • Cyrene Acts 6:9; 11:20; 13:1; Mk 15:21
  • Visitors Acts 18:2; 23:11; 28:15; Ro 1:7,15; 2 Ti 1:17
  • Jews Acts 6:5; 13:43; Est 8:17; Zech 8:20,23
  • ESV Map of Nations at Pentecost
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

See Map of Pentecost and the Diaspora - Phrygia and Pamphylia, districts of Libya around Cyrene

Phrygia - (Wikipedia)(See map or here) - "Place name meaning, “parched.” In very ancient times the area immediately west of the Hellespont. Later, the people migrated into Asia Minor. During Roman times, Phrygia was a subregion of Galatia, and her people often were slaves or servants. The area remained relatively undefined but contained Antioch of Pisidia, Laodicea, and at times, Iconium. Some of the Phrygians were present in Jerusalem on the Day of Pentecost and heard the gospel in their native language (Acts 2:10 ; compare Acts 16:6 ; Acts 18:23 ). (Holman Bible Dictionary) (More detailed article)

Pamphylia - (Wikipedia) (Location of Pamphylia in Roman Empire, another map) - "One of the provinces of Asia Minor. Located in what is now southern Turkey, Pamphylia was a small district on the coast. It measured about eighty miles long and twenty miles wide. One of the chief cities was Perga, where John Mark left Paul and Barnabas during the first missionary journey (Acts 13:13). Other important cities were the ports of Side and Attalia. The New Testament records no other significant events for the early church in Pamphylia, perhaps because of the concentration of non-Hellenized peoples in the region. This would make the spread of the gospel slower and harder to achieve." (Holman Bible Dictionary) (More detailed article)

Egypt - "In the first Century of the Christian era, the Jewish population in Egypt numbered about a million people. Most of them lived in the coastal city of Alexandria. In this city, the Jews had translated the Old Testament Scriptures from Hebrew into Greek (Septuagint). To the west of Egypt, Libya had opened its borders to Jewish people who settled in its capital city, Cyrene (6:9; 11:20; 13:1; Matt. 27:32).(Compare Josephus Antiquities 14.7.2 [116–18].)" (Kistemaker)

The districts of Libya around Cyrene - (See districts of Libya around Cyrene) "The home of a certain Simon who was compelled to carry Jesus' cross to the place of crucifixion (Matthew

27:32 ). Located in northern Africa, it was the capital city of the Roman district of Cyrenaica during the New Testament era. Cyrenaica and Crete formed one province. Simon of Cyrene may have belonged to the rather large population of Greek-speaking Jews who resided in the city during the first part of the first century A.D." (Holman Bible Dictionary) (More detailed article)

Visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes - Luke does not use the word residents (See note for discussion of verb katoikeo), but visitors who were "not necessarilyRoman citizens but Jews and converts to Judaism who lived in Rome. Jews in Rome numbered in the tens of thousands in the time of the apostles. In Rome the Jews propagated Judaism and as a result gained numerous proselytes. Among these converts were also many God-fearers, who observed the law of Moses but did not submit to circumcision (see Acts 10:1; and Luke 7:5)." (Kistemaker)

Why would Luke use a different word "visitors" to describe the Jews from Rome? As noted below, epidemeo speaks of one who who stays for a while, so these Roman Jews would soon hear the Gospel. Undoubtedly some of these visiting Roman Jews responded to the Gospel presentation and thus would return to the most important city of the Roman Empire as bearers of the Gospel message!

Visitors (1927)(epidemeo from epi = upon + demos = people assembled) describes one who lives among another people (only other use Acts 17:21 = "visiting" and not in Septuagint). BDAG - "to stay in a place as a stranger or visitor." The idea is living away from one's home, dwelling among another people, temporarily residing among them or staying in a place as a visitor. 

Gilbrant - The meaning of epidemeo is well documented in early Greek literature since the Fifth Century B.C. It describes how a stranger or visitor may temporarily “dwell” in a place. It is not used in the Septuagint, but in Acts 2:10 the word is used of Romans who were visiting Jerusalem at the time of Pentecost. Acts 17:21 tells of Paul’s interaction with the Athenian philosophers and “strangers which were there.” (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

Both Jews and proselytes - This probably refers to Roman Jews as well as Roman Gentiles who had converted to Judaism. 

Proselytes (4339)(proselutos from proserchomai to come near to join) describes a stranger, foreigner, one who comes from his own people to another. In the NT proselutos is a technical term for a Gentile who has come over into Judaism (circumcision, baptism, sacrifice) usually won over from paganism through Jewish missionary efforts and then by submitting to c circumcision (males), self-baptism before witnesses (The Talmud adds that Gentile conversion must be supervised by three Jews - The Talmud of Babylonia) and offering of a sacrifice.

Related terms are those reverencing God (Acts 13:43, 50; 16:14; 17:4, 17; 18:7),or  those fearing God (Acts 10:2; 13:16, 26). Robertson adds that "Many remained uncircumcised and were called proselytes of the gate." (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

The first use of proselutos is by Jesus describing Jewish "missionaries" who traveled far "to make one proselyte and when he becomes one, (he is made) twice as much a son of hell as" the Jewish missionary. (Mt 23:15). In their zeal to make converts one of the places the Jewish missionaries had visited was Rome. Zodhiates says that "such zeal being so remarkable at that time that it became proverbial among the Romans."

Luke also describes Jewish proselytes from Antioch. Some of the proselytes in Palestine in the day of Christ were the centurion (Mt. 8:5-13; Lk 7:1-10), who was an officer in the army of Herod Antipas, the Greeks who were going up to worship at the Passover (Jn 12:20), and possibly (evidence only circumstantial) Pilate's wife (Mt 27:19). 

Proselutos - 4x in 4v - Mt. 23:15; Acts 2:10; Acts 6:5; Acts 13:43

Acts 2:11   Cretans and Arabs--we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God."

KJV Acts 2:11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

  • Cretans Acts 27:7,12; Titus 1:5,12
  • Arabs 1 Kings 10:15; 2 Chr 17:11; 26:7; Isa 13:20; 21:13; Jer 3:2; 25:24; Gal 1:17; Gal 4:25
  • Mighty deeds of God Ex 15:11; Job 9:10; Ps 26:7; 40:5; 71:17; 77:11; 78:4; 89:5; 96:3; Ps 107:8,15,21; 111:4; 136:4; Isa 25:1; 28:29; Da 4:2,3; 1 Cor 12:10,28+; He 2:4
  • ESV Map of Nations at Pentecost
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Cretans - (See Wikipedia). "Crete, the modern Candia , is an island 60 miles S. of Greece proper, about 150 miles long, and varying in breadth from 30 to 7 miles, with mountains as high as 7000 feet. It is about equidistant from Europe, Asia, and Africa, and was inhabited from the earliest times of which we have any knowledge. The researches of Mr. Arthur J [Note: Jahwist.] . Evans and others have revealed traces of a very ancient civilization, including an alphabet hitherto unknown. In historical times it was famed for its archers, who were valued in the armies of Europe. It was conquered by Rome in b.c. 67, and became, in conjunction with the district Cyrenaica on the N. of Africa, a Roman senatorial province, governed by a proconsul. Jews were early to be found there, and were very numerous. Some were present at Pentecost in the year of the crucifixion (Acts 2:11). St. Paul’s ship, on the voyage to Rome, sailed along the Cretan coast close in ( Acts 27:7 ), and came to Fair Havens near Lasea. These places were on the S. coast, which had few harbours. The epithets which a native of the island, the poet Epimenides (flourished b.c. 600), flung at the Cretans, are quoted in a somewhat un-apostolic manner in the Epistle to Titus (Titus 1:12+). Epimenides styled them ‘always liars, evil beasts of prey, lazy gluttons.’ (See note) Such vituperation, though countenanced by others also, must not be taken too seriously. The ancients were much given to it, and it probably reveals as much of the natures of the persons who used it as of those to whom it was applied. Greeks in general are not, and were not famous for truthfulness, for instance. When and by whom Christianity was planted in Crete cannot be said. It is probable that it was well established there in the 1st century. In the Epistle to Titus we find Titus introduced as having been left by St. Paul in charge of the churches." (Hastings Dictionary of the Bible)

And Arabs - See article in Hastings Dictionary of the Bible.  "The Arabs who came to Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost presumably were Jews who resided in Nabatea. The Nabateans were desert dwellers who lived in an area that stretched in a southwesterly direction from Damascus to Egypt. Petra, situated to the southeast of Palestine, was its capital. Paul spent time in the Nabatean kingdom of Arabia (Gal. 1:17)." (Kistemaker) Note that Rome did not conquer Arabia until after NT times.

We hear them in our own tongues - In our own languages probably better than "tongues." Remember this is supernatural speech for these were country bumpkin Galileans filled with the Holy Spirit. This fact reminds me of Paul's teaching that "God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, and the base things of the world and the despised, God has chosen, the things that are not, that He might nullify the things that are, that no man should boast before God." (1 Cor 1:27-29) 

Speaking (laleo) is in the present tense - they were continually speaking.

Wiersbe comments that "Note that the believers were praising God, not preaching the Gospel, and that they used known languages, not an "unknown tongue" (Acts 2:6, 8)."  (Bible Exposition Commentary).

Mighty deeds of God (Mighty works) - Mighty is the adjective megaleios (from megas = great) used only here in the NT and meaning great, magnificent, splendid, glorious, wonderful. Megaleios is used in Deuteronomy to describe the "greatness" of the LORD God.

Know this day that I am not speaking with your sons who have not known and who have not seen the discipline of the LORD your God–His greatness, His mighty hand and His outstretched arm, and His signs and His works which He did in the midst of Egypt to Pharaoh the king of Egypt and to all his land. (Dt 11:2-3)

The only other use is in Ps 71:19

"For Your righteousness, O God, reaches to the heavens, You who have done great (Lxx = megaleios) things; O God, who is like You?"

Spurgeon writes that "Adoration is a fit frame of mind for the believer. When he draws near to God, he enters into a region where everything is surpassingly sublime; miracles of love abound on every hand, and marvels of mingled justice and grace. A traveller among the high Alps often feels overwhelmed with awe, amid their amazing sublimities; much more is this the case when we survey the heights and depths of the mercy and holiness of the Lord."

Some commentators (Constable, POSB) feel they were speaking the Gospel, but that seems unlikely. Rather, they were exalting God which would have countered the accusations of the Jews that believers in Jesus were blashpemers, just as they felt He was, but blasphemers would hardly being praising the mighty deeds of God! Their praise was the prelude and preparation for the presentation and proclamation of the Gospel by Peter.

Stanley Toussaint - Their message was not one of repentance; it was not the gospel. (Bible Knowledge Commentary)

Some of the OT mighty deeds they may have referred to include...

Exodus 15:11  “Who is like You among the gods, O LORD? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, Awesome in praises, working wonders? 

Psalm 40:5 Many, O LORD my God, are the wonders which You have done, And Your thoughts toward us; There is none to compare with You. If I would declare and speak of them, They would be too numerous to count. 

Psalm 77:11 I shall remember the deeds of the LORD; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. 

Psalm 96:3 Tell of His glory among the nations, His wonderful deeds among all the peoples. 

Psalm 107:21 Let them give thanks to the LORD for His lovingkindness, And for His wonders to the sons of men! 

Spirit filled people are not shy about testifying about the great and mighty deeds of their great God!'

Paul Apple on might deeds...

   Mighty deeds of Forming me in all of my uniqueness – I will give thanks to Thee, for I
    am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Thy works, And my soul knows it very
    well. – Ps. 139:14
  - Mighty deeds of His New Creation – 2 Cor 5:17 “Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is
    a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.”
  - Mighty deeds of Judgment – Tower of Babel and Noah’s Flood
  - Mighty deeds of His dealings with His covenant People – Nation of Israel
  - Mighty deeds of the Giving of His Law – revelation to guide His people
  - Mighty deeds of the coming of the promised Messiah – His incarnation by virgin birth
  - Mighty deeds of Christ accomplished during His earthly ministry
  - Mighty deeds of His death and resurrection and ascension
  - Mighty deeds continuing now by the Holy Spirit as recorded in this Book of Acts

It was a vision of the Greatness of God that awoke the great Princeton theologian Jonathan Edwards from spiritual lethargy: Jonathan Edwards was suddenly converted, as by a flash of light, in the moment of reading a single verse of the New Testament. He was at home in his father’s house: some hindrances kept him from going to church one Sunday with the family. A couple of hours with nothing to do sent him listlessly into the library: the sight of a dull volume with no title on the leather back of it piqued curiosity as to what it could be: he opened it at random and found it to be a Bible: and then his eye caught this verse: “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory for ever and ever, Amen!” He tells us in his journal that the immediate effect of it was awakening and alarming to his soul: for it brought him a most novel and most extensive thought of the vastness and majesty of the true Sovereign of the universe. Out of this grew the pain of guilt for having resisted such as a Monarch so long, and for having served Him so poorly. And whereas he had hitherto had slight notions of his own wickedness and very little poignancy of acute remorse, now he felt the deepest contrition. – C. H. Robinson


1) Does my heart reflect God’s passion for worldwide missions?

2) How has God gotten my attention in the past?

3) What passages help me to reflect on the greatness of God?

4) What type of mocking responses do we see to the gospel message? (Acts Commentary)

Acts 2:12   And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, "What does this mean?"

KJV Acts 2:12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? 

  • What does this mean Acts 10:17; 17:20; Luke 15:26; 18:36
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity - Those who were attracted to the supernatural speaking of foreign languages reacted positively but with great wonder at a loss as to what was transpiring. One might call them "sincere seekers," honest hearers seeking answers.

Amazement - see preceding discussion of this verb existemi used in Acts 2:7. Both verbs here are imperfect middle indicating that they continued to be amazed and perplexed.

Continued in...great perplexity (1280)(diaporeo from dia = through + aporeo= to be perplexed) means to be utterly at a loss, to be puzzled, to be perplexed through and through (thoroughly perplexed). To be in much doubt. Vincent says diaporeo describes "one who goes through the whole list of possible solutions, but finds no way out.” Diaporeo is used only by Luke - Lk. 9:7; Acts 2:12; 5:24; 10:17 (Textus Receptus has it also in Luke 24:4 which has aporeo in most modern manuscripts). 

Saying to one another, "What does this mean?" (Literally, "what does this wish to be?") - Their primary reaction was incomprehension -- they did not understand what was taking place. They were "dazed and confused" because they could not grasp the significance of the supernatural sign of speech. However, their sincere, honest question prepares them for Peter's Spirit inspired answer. As Paul says in Ephesians 3:20+ Peter's "Gospel answer" would  accomplish "far more abundantly beyond all that (they could) ask or think, according to the power that (would soon work) within (them)!"

Notice that miracles do not save, but in the case of this group did spark an interest in Peter's proclamation of the saving Gospel. 

Acts 2:13   But others were mocking and saying, "They are full of sweet wine."

KJV Acts 2:13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

  • They are full of sweet wine Acts 2:15; 1 Sa 1:14; Job 32:19; Song of Solomon 7:9; Isa 25:6; Zech 9:15,17; 10:7; Eph 5:18


But Term of contrast. This should always illicit a question as you study the text - What is being contrasted?

Longnecker makes an important observation that "The miraculous is not self-authenticating, nor does it inevitably and uniformly convince. There must also be the preparation of the heart and the proclamation of the message if miracles are to accomplish their full purpose." (Ibid)

Mark it down - Miracles do not convert!

Others were mocking and saying - These mockers remind us of the Pharisees who heard Jesus' claims and saw His signs and wonders, but "when the Pharisees heard this (THE QUESTION ABOUT WHETHER HE WAS THE SON OF DAVID, THE MESSIAH - Mt 12:23), they said, “This man casts out demons only by Beelzebul (NAME JEWS GAVE SATAN) the ruler of the demons.” (Mt 12:24). 

Others is heteros indicating others of a different disposition from those amazed and perplexed. The foreign-born Jews were others who were of a different character. 

They are full of sweet wine - Skeptical scoffers always have to find some explanation for extraordinary miracles, even when it is obvious (now it is possible these skeptics did not have ears to discern the sounds were foreign languages, but clearly some in the crowd did and would have explained why they were amazed and bewildered). They are accusing the Spirit filled disciples of being filled with "spirits," of being drunk, because they heard some speaking foreign languages they did not understand and took these unintelligible sounds to be the result of drunkenness. We've all heard drunks speaking foolishness and even things we cannot understand.

As Adrian Rogers said "They were drunk on new wine. They were filled with the Spirit of God. And when they were filled with the Spirit of God they were became free in their spirit."

As an aside, when you are misunderstood (or attacked) for your Christian witness, especially when you testify to a miracle (such as your own salvation!), Peter shows us that there are times when we are to take a stand and defend our faith, yet as he said in 1 Peter 3:15+ we should do so "with gentleness and reverence." 

Hughes observes that these mockers "committed the fatal error of attributing the supernatural to natural causes. They were "modern men." Spiritually indifferent, they flippantly made light of the most important things of life and went on their self-sufficient way." (Preaching the Word – Acts: The Church Afire)

Application - Beloved, when you are filled with the Spirit don't be surprised at the fiery trial which comes upon you for your testing! (1 Peter 4:12+) And don't let the attack discourage you from keeping on being filled!

Mocking (1315)(diachleuazo from dia + chleuazo = to jest, jeer, sneer; chleuē means a joke) means to thoroughly deride, scoff, jeer at or ridicule, all these reactions in the present tense (continually). The were making fun of the disciples' speaking, some even laughing with contempt and derision. And very likely they were sneering which describes the making of facial expressions of contempt or scorn, even "curling" their upper lips (pix)! The Textus Receptus also uses this verb in Acts 17:32, but most modern manuscripts have diachleuazo only in Acts 2:13, using the verb chleuazo in Acts 17:32. But the point is certainly the same as these skeptical Athenian philosophers reacted to Paul's presentation of the Gospel Luke recording "Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some began to sneer (chleuazo in the imperfect tense - began to mock and kept it up)." 

Full of is mestoo used only here in the NT and in this context clearly conveys the sense of being intoxicated indicating sweet wine did have some degree of fermentation and alcohol content. Used in the apocrypha - In 3 Macc 5:1 to describe a king "filled with overpowering anger." Mestoo is in the perfect tense which means implies the disciples had begun to drink at some time in the past and now remained in a state of drunkenness.

Sweet wine ("new wine" = KJV)(1098)(gleukos from glukus = sweet - gives us English glucose) means wine that tasted sweet but clearly had the capability of intoxicating (or the mockers would not have made this accusation). Some believe that it is what distills of its own accord from the grapes which is the sweetest and smoothest. Robertson says "Sweet wine kept a year was very intoxicating." Gilbrant says "It is not the ordinary word for new wine and probably represents an intoxicating wine made from a very sweet grape which would have a higher alcoholic content. It would be some time before the grape harvest began in August and real new wine or grape juice would again be available." (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

Steven Cole - Note that not all responded positively, even though this was a “Class A” miracle. Even miracles will not convince mockers, who do not want to submit their lives to the Sovereign God. The Book of Acts is a record not only of might conversions, but also of fierce opposition to the preaching of the gospel. We should expect the same response. But we know that our God will triumph, that every knee will someday bow to Jesus Christ as Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:9-11). (The Meaning of Pentecost Acts 2:1-13)

Warren Wiersbe on full of sweet wine - It is interesting that the mockers should accuse the believers of being drunk, for wine is associated with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18). Paul relates the two in contrast, for when a man is filled with strong drink, he loses control of himself and ends up being ashamed; but when a person is filled with the Spirit, he has self-control and glorifies God. Strong drink can bring a temporary exhilaration, but the Spirit gives a deep satisfaction and a lasting joy. (Bible Exposition Commentary ).

Johann Bengel said that this mocking can be equated with " “the world (which) begins with ridicule; then afterwards it proceeds to questioning (Acts 4:7); to threats (Acts 4:7); to imprisoning (Acts 5:18); to inflicting stripes (Acts 5:40); to murder (Acts 7:58).”

Derek Thomas - We should pray for the Spirit’s work to be made clear in our own lives. “Come, Holy Spirit. Come into our hearts and dispel the unbelief and coldness that so often mar our relationship with our Father in heaven. Reveal to us through the Scriptures how much our Savior loved us. You are the same Spirit who dwelt in him while he was on earth. You know him better than anyone else knows him. Draw us to his feet that we may once more fall before him in adoration and love. Amen.” (Acts: Reformed Expository Commentary).

Acts 2:14   But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: "Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words.

KJV Acts 2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

  • Taking his stand with the eleven Acts 1:26
  • Raised his voice Isa 40:9; 52:8; 58:1; Hosea 8:1
  • Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem Acts 2:22; 5:35; 13:16; 21:28
  • Give heed to my words Acts 7:2; Dt 27:9; Pr 8:32; Isa 51:1,4,7; 55:2; James 2:5
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

Acts 2:14-36

All the phenomena that transpired in Acts 2:1-13 was preparation of the people to hear Peter's sermon, and specifically to answer the question the crowd posed in Acts 2:12 “What does this mean?” It was a great sermon because of its content (filled with exposition of OT Scriptures), because it was Christ centered (every sermon should point to Jesus Christ), because it was clear, understandable and because it had practical application to the listeners. 

But Term of contrast. This should always illicit a question as you study the text - What is being contrasted? Notice that the mocking immediately precedes Peter's response to rise and speak. Peter will refute the mocking taunt. This reminds me of the requirement Paul mentions for an overseer who is to be "holding fast the faithful word which is in accordance with the teaching, so that he will be able both to exhort in sound doctrine and to refute those who contradict." (Titus 1:9)

Peter - Peter is petros, which means a large stone and is the translation of the name "Cephas" the Aramaic word for rock, the name Jesus first gave to Simon ("hearing") who was called Peter (see Mt 4:18, John 1:42).

John MacArthurPeter had been the acknowledged leader and often the spokesman for the apostles during Christ's earthly ministry. In all four lists of apostles, his name is first (Matt. 10:2-4; Mark 3:16-19; Luke 6:14-16; Acts 1:13). He now continues in that role. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Acts)

Good sermons need good introduction to reel in the hearers, but in this case the Spirit of God has provided a supernatural introduction with the loud noise and the foreign languages that have caused most of the hearers to ask "What's up?" Peter now proceeds to tell them what is up concerning the Gospel, but first he will refute the naysayers and then move on to the meat of his message. 

Remember that only 7 weeks earlier Jesus had been killed for speaking out concerning the things of God! And Peter had denied any association with Jesus three times! Now if you did not believe in the power of the Holy Spirit to give supernatural boldness, then nothing would convince you. Here is a man who stands up before a Jewish crowd, many of whom undoubtedly who had cried out to Pilate to "Crucify, Crucify!" A natural man could not have stood up before this crowd! But Peter was no longer a natural man, but a Spirit filled supernatural man! Lord, may his tribe increase, in Jesus' Name. Amen

Dear pastor/teacher, when you are filled with the Holy Spirit and the Holy Word, you sermons and teaching will have supernatural power. 

Derek Thomas asks "What on earth has happened to Peter? In a month and a half, he has changed from the whimpering coward we saw in the high priests’ courtyard to the brave and outspoken preacher portrayed in this chapter. In a series of sermons on Acts, the courageous, golden-tongued, fourth-century preacher John Chrysostom puts it this way: “A damsel,” it is written, “came out unto him, saying, ‘Thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth,’ ” And, says he, “I knew not the Man.” And being again questioned, “he began to curse and swear.” But see here his boldness, and his great freedom of speech." This about-face is the Spirit’s doing. No doubt the private resurrection encounter had been transformational (1 Cor. 15:5). In an instant, Peter’s foolishness and sin had been exposed. No doubt the fact that Scripture records only the fact of Peter’s encounter with the risen Jesus and not its contents suggests that the occasion was perhaps too personal to record. One thing is sure: six weeks later he was a changed man. Already, in the first chapter of Acts, we have seen him as the leader of the disciples, urging the election of Matthias and displaying that he had been deeply immersed in the Scriptures (Acts 1:15–22). Peter’s recovery tells us at once a number of wonderfully encouraging things: recovery from spiritual malaise and backsliding is possible, and the grace of God in the gospel covers a multitude of sins. (Ibid)

Taking his stand with the eleven - The verb stand (histemi) is passive voice so the idea is "being put forward" as spokesman (NAS Marginal note). Passive voice is used when an outside Source exerts action or force on the subject, in this context strongly suggesting that Peter is urged to and/or enabled to step forward by the Holy Spirit! So Peter stood up. He stepped forth. The other 11 disciples were with him. Peter is the spokesman but he is not speaking alone. Matthias is now part of the 11 (cf Acts 1:23-26+) and this is his first "official" act as part of the apostolic group. Peter proceeds to give the first sermon of the newly formed Church. Peter probably delivered his sermon in Aramaic, which was the common language of Palestine which would have been familiar to all the crowd. 

Luke is fond of mentioning standing (stood, etc) - Acts 5:20; 11:13; 17:22; 25:18; 27:21, compare Lk 18:11, 40. Did the 11 stand up with Peter? We can't say for certain. In any event, the idea of unity and concert of the group is preeminent. We see the 12 then as governed by one purpose, acting under one commission. Peter was not speaking in his own name so much as he was representing all 12 apostles, who were in turn representatives of one Lord.  This is a great pattern for the pastoral staff of any church!

Where was Peter's sermon delivered? Luke does not tell us but this clearly could not be the room of the original 120. Longnecker is probably correct stating "It was probably delivered in the outer court of the temple."

Raised his voice ("shouted to the crowd" = NLT) - This is nothing new for Peter who frequently opened his mouth and inserted his foot. But this is a different Peter, the Spirit enabled Peter, not depending on his natural ability, but on the Spirit's supernatural power, and in so doing Peter gives all of us a good pattern to imitate! So now Peter lifted up his voice enabling him to speak loudly or even cry out (cf Lk 11:27). This same verb (epairo) is used again in Acts 14:11 "When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they raised their voice, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have become like men and have come down to us.”  When Paul mentioned he had been sent to the Gentiles the Jewish crowd "raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he should not be allowed to live!” (Acts 22:22).

And since we know that 3000 responded to Peter's message, the crowd must have been considerably larger and Peter had no megaphone or PA system. All he had was God's supernatural "PA" System (the indwelling Spirit), and that was all he needed! Have you ever been in the situation where all you had was God, His promises, His presence? If you have, you likely have come to experientially realize that He was all you ever needed! Take a moment and ponder His sufficiency in your insufficiency by listening to Twila Paris' song "All That I Need." May God's Spirit emblazon this truth deep within your inner being for His glory and in the Name of His Son. Amen. 

Peter's sermon to so such a large crowd of Jews reminds me of stories I have heard of how God's Spirit used George Whitefield (read or listen to John Piper's analysis of this supernaturally charged saint!) in the 1700's as an instrument to bring about the First Great Awakening in America. John MacArthur says that "Whitfield preached in Bristol to 20,000 people regularly, often daily. Sometimes when Whitfield got up in the morning, there would be 10,000 people outside waiting for him to begin. Often he preached to 40,000 people. It is said that near Glasgow, Scotland he preached to as many of 50,000 to 100,000 people. Now this was without any preparation, without any publicity (AND WITHOUT A PA SYSTEM!). This is just people drawn to the power of the word of God."

And declared to them - This is the same verb apophtheggomai (see note) Luke used in Acts 2:4 to describe the Spirit giving them (the disciples who had been filled) utterance. Now that same Spirit is giving Peter utterance, this verb signifying the solemn, authoritative utterance of something important and weighty! Bengel describes it as the "most solemn, earnest, yet sober speech." "Peter did it to win and hold attention." (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

Let me repeat the following descriptions of apophtheggomai as they give such a vivid picture of the sound and force of Peter's proclamation...

Robertson - Lucian uses it (apophtheggomai) of the ring of a vessel when it strikes a reef. It is used of eager, elevated, impassioned utterance. 

Vincent says that apophtheggomai is a "peculiar word, and purposely chosen to denote the clear, loud utterance under the miraculous impulse. It is used by later Greek writers of the utterances of oracles or seers.

Keep in mind that the Jews crucified Jesus for being a blasphemer (declaring He was God), and now only some 50 days later Peter stands up to speak about this One the Jews considered a blasphemer! This is clear evidence of the supernatural boldness of given to Peter by the Spirit. Jews today have a similar vitriolic reaction to Jesus' claims. John MacArthur tells a story - 

I’ll never forget I went into the office of a rabbi in Hollywood who is the rabbi of the largest temple there and I wanted to just talk to him about Jesus Christ. I got an appointment with him and I went in and I … his name was Bowman, and I said sir, I’d just like to ask you what you think of Jesus Christ. And he looked at his fist and he hit the desk as hard as he could and things just went up and right down again. And he pointed his finger at me and said don’t you ever mention that name in my presence. That’s what he said. And then he says, you don’t know anything about Judaism. He said, you can’t even read the Talmud. I said, let me see a copy. He wasn’t aware that I had had enough Hebrew to barely get by. Well, he didn’t show me a copy, but I spent the time talking to him about everything but Jesus Christ. He refused to mention the name of Jesus Christ. And

Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem - In Acts 1:11 we have a similar mode of address - "Men of Galilee." He is focusing on his Jewish audience and like a military general Peter begins by issuing two commands, summed up as know and heed.

Wiersbe - The message was given by a Jew, to Jews (Acts 2:14, 22, 29, 36), on a Jewish holy day, about the resurrection of the Jewish Messiah whom their nation had crucified. The Gentiles who were there were proselytes to the Jewish religion (Acts 2:10). Peter would not open the door of faith to the Gentiles until he visited Cornelius (Acts 10). (Bible Exposition Commentary ).

Let this be known to you - is present imperative, which suggests something like "Do not let my words go in one ear and out the other, for this is truth that can be know and you need to know it continually." Alexander says the idea is "I have something to communicate or make known, with an implication that it is not without interest and importance to the hearers."

Known (1110)(gnostos from ginosko = to know experientially) is that which is knowable, perceived, understood. Gnostos then means (1) of something clearly recognizable known, made known, remarkable (Acts 4.16); (2) well-known; of person's acquaintance, friend (Lk 2.44, Lk 23:49, Jn 18:15, 16; Lxx - Ps 88:8, 18); (3) of what can be known intelligible, knowable (Ro 1.19). The first use in the Septuagint refers to the "tree of knowledge of good and evil", where the Septuagint reads "learning the knowledge (Lxx - gnostos) of good and evil." (Ge 2:9). Isaiah 19:21 says "the LORD will make Himself known to Egypt" which is what He does in Ro 1:19. 

The adjective gnostos refers to something that is clearly recognizable, something that could be known. Peter is calling for (commanding) them to know the truth he is going to declare to them with the idea that it is truth which is knowable. Of course as Paul said "a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised." (1 Cor 2:14+) So the implication is that the Spirit of truth will enable the hearers of Peter's sermon to know (cf this same sense of gnostos in Acts 15:18) the truths he is declaring about Jesus Christ. 

Gnostos - 15x in 15v - acquaintances(2), known(12), noteworthy(1).

Lk. 2:44; Lk. 23:49; Jn. 18:15; Jn. 18:16; Acts 1:19 = "And it became known to all who were living in Jerusalem"; Acts 2:14; Acts 4:10; Acts 4:16 = "noteworthy miracle"; Acts 9:42 = It (Acts 9:40, 41) became known all over Joppa, and many believed in the Lord"; Acts 13:38; Acts 15:18 = "THE LORD, WHO MAKES THESE THINGS KNOWN FROM LONG AGO"; Acts 19:17 = "This (Acts 19:16) became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived in Ephesus;"; Acts 28:22 = "it is known to us that it is spoken against everywhere"; Acts 28:28; Ro 1:19 = "because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them."

Gnostos - 22x in 22v in the Septuagint

Ge 2:9; Ex. 33:16; 2 Ki. 10:11; "let it be known to the king" in Ezr. 4:12;13; 5:8; Neh. 5:10; Ps. 31:11 = "my acquaintances"; Ps. 55:13; Ps. 76:1 = "God is known (Lxx = gnostos) in Judah"; Ps. 88:8; Ps. 88:18 = "my acquaintances"; Isa. 19:21; Ezek. 36:32; Dan. 3:18; Zech 14:7 = "a unique day which is known (Lxx = gnostos) to the LORD";

This phrase let this be known is a Semitic expression used repeatedly in Acts (cf similar uses in Lxx = Ezek 36:32, Da 3:18) always in the context of salvation as it is in Peter's first sermon...

Acts 4:10 let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the Name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, Whom you crucified, Whom God raised from the dead–by this Name this man stands here before you in good health.

Acts 13:38 “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you,

Acts 28:28 “Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will also listen.”

Albert Barnes says "Peter did not intimate that this was a doubtful matter, or one that could not be explained. His address was respectful, yet firm. He proceeded calmly to show them their error. When the enemies of religion deride us or the Gospel, we should answer them kindly and respectfully, yet firmly. We should reason with them coolly, and convince them of their error (Pr 15:1+). In this case Peter acted on the principle which he afterward enjoined on all, 1 Peter 3:15+, "Be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence." The design of Peter was to vindicatethe conduct of the apostles from the reproach of intoxication, to show that this could be no other than the work of God; and to make an application of the truth to his hearers. This he did  (1.) by showing that this could not be reasonably supposed to be the effect of new wine, Acts 2:15. (2.) That it had been expressly predicted in the writings of the Jewish prophets, Acts 2:16-21. (3.) By a calm argument, proving the resurrection and ascension of Christ, and showing that this also was in accordance with the Jewish Scriptures, Acts 2:22-35. (Barnes' Notes - Acts 2)

And give heed to my words - "Listen carefully" (NET, NLT), "Hearken" (KJV), "Give ear" (ESV). Hearken is an old word, but it has a wonderful "ring" to it - the idea of hearken is to give respectful attention to what is being said. It is not just "in one ear and out the other" but conveys the idea of to hear with attention, obedience, or compliance. Today we might say something like "Now listen up!" to grab the attention of those to whom we are speaking.


Here in Acts 2:14 and again in Acts 2:22 Peter calls for his audience to listen carefully to his words! Note well, regardless of the eloquence of the speaker, the responsibility of the audience is to listen carefully (and not text messages or check the news on their phones!) Jesus, the master Teacher exhorted His audience "Take care how  you listen." (Lk 8:18+). Before your pastor preaches, do you ever ask the Spirit of God to give you ears to hear what He wants to say to you personally through the message preached? Try it sometime! 

Give heed  (aorist imperative)(1801) (enotizomai from en = in or into + ous = ear) literally means to receive in the ear and so to give ear to, to listen carefully to what is said, to pay attention to. This is the only use in the NT. Enotizomai is used repeatedly in the Septuagint meaning to give ear, e.g., in Neh 9:30 Israel "would not give ear" so God gave them over to their enemies! In the Psalms the supplicant cries out to God to give ear to his prayers (Ps 5:1, 17:1, 39:12, 54:2, 55:1, 84:8, 86:6, 140:6, 143:1). Isaiah 28:23 says "give ear and hear my voice" which is a sense much like here in Acts 2:14 (cf Isa 51:4, Jer 13:15). The idea is similar to the previous command to "give heed to my words" and so means to listen with attention. 

Gilbrant explains that based on the repeated uses in the Septuagint (see above comments and list below) "It is thus significant for Luke to use enotizomai in Acts 2:14. Enōtizomai occurs here in the introduction of Peter’s Pentecost message. This introduction was based upon Old Testament speech, prophetic forms, and Hellenistic oratory. These Septuagint and Hellenistic forms would be of particular importance for the readers and listeners, for they would be Jews and proselytes from the diaspora who would be especially familiar with the Greek Bible. The beginning of Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost contains enōtizomai which means the people should pay special attention to his words and obey them. That they did this is evident from their response (Acts 2:37). By obeying Peter’s message they would be saved and receive the gift of the Spirit. In this sense the inner action of paying close attention is significantly attached to faithful obedience. (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

Robertson comments "People's ears differ greatly, but in public speech they have to be reached through the ear. That puts an obligation on the speaker and also on the auditors who should sit where they can hear with the ears which they have, an obligation often overlooked." (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

Enotizomai - 36x in 36v in the Septuagint - 

Ge 4:23; Ex 15:26 = "give ear to His commandments"; Nu 23:18 = "Give ear to me"; Jdg. 5:3 = "Hear, O kings, give ear"; Neh. 9:30 = "Yet they would not give ear"; Job 32:11; Job 33:1; Job 33:31; Job 34:2; Job 34:16; Job 37:14; Ps. 5:1 = "give ear to my words O LORD"; Ps. 17:1 "give ear to my prayer"; Ps. 39:12; Ps. 49:1; Ps. 54:2; Ps. 55:1; Ps. 84:8; Ps. 86:6; Ps. 135:17; Ps. 140:6; Ps. 143:1; Isa. 1:2; Isa. 28:23; Isa. 42:23; Isa. 44:8; Isa. 51:4; Jer. 8:6; Jer. 13:15; Jer. 23:18; Hos. 5:1; Joel 1:2

Words (4487)(rhema from verb rheo = to speak) refers to the spoken word, especially a word as uttered by a living voice. Rhema refers to any sound produced by the voice which has a definite meaning. It focuses upon the content of the communication. Rhema is used in the great passage in Luke 1:37+ which in the old 1901 ASV reads more accurately "For no word (rhema) from God shall be void of power." Literally, "No word of God can fail." The spoken words of Peter inspired by the Spirit and empowered by the Spirit would not fail for they were full of power!

When you read Peter's sermon (Acts 2:14-36), you may be thinking "I wish my pastor would preach like that! He'd be finished in less than 5 minutes!" However we learn from Acts 2:40 that Peter spoke "with many other words," so that his "sermon" was definitely longer that what Luke has recorded. Remember it is 9 AM and there are 3 hours before it's time for lunch! So this may have been a very long sermon. We'll have to ask Peter when we see him in Heaven (Won't that be a treat!)  Derek Thomas quips that "despite the temptation, we should not therefore advocate “The Benefits of the Five-Minute Sermon,” however appealing that may sound to some."

Derek Thomas characterizes Peter's sermon - It is an example of how to bring an Old Testament text that is rooted in a redemptive-historical setting into the present. More especially, it is an example of how to preach Jesus Christ from the Old Testament. Even though Pentecost was a disclosure of the Holy Spirit’s ministry, more crucially it was a continuation of the ongoing ministry of (the ascended) Jesus Christ. Having brought us to Jesus Christ, Peter makes an evangelistic appeal to his listeners to repent and believe in Jesus Christ. The summary sermon is expositional, Christological, and evangelistic. This sermon is not a piece of arid theology, of interest merely to ivory-tower theologians. On the contrary, this is news driven home to the hearts of men and women insisting that what is at stake is a matter of life and death. There is a sense of urgency. Something needs to be done and done right away! And it has everything to do with the identity and mission of Jesus Christ who, only six weeks ago, was crucified and buried in this city. It had something to do with salvation (Acts 2:21, 40). (Ibid)

Steven Cole - I have read that the number one fear that people have is the fear of speaking in public. It ranks ahead of the fear of death! The fear of speaking in public would increase if a person knew that he would be speaking to a hostile audience. Add to that the fact that the audience is not just a small group, but at least five to ten thousand hostile people, and you must address them without a public address system! To make matters worse, you have made a fool out of yourself just weeks before in such a manner that many in your audience would have heard about it. And, you have no time to prepare your message. The opportunity presents itself and you’re on—without any notes! Such was the situation facing Peter on the Day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:14-41 The Sermon that Launched the Church)

Joseph Addison Alexander - Though informal, (Peter's sermon) is perfectly consecutive and even symmetrical in structure. It first repudiates the charge of drunkenness (Acts 2:14); then shows what had occurred to be the fulfilment of a signal prophecy (Acts 2:15–21); and then demonstrates the Messiahship of Jesus (Acts 2:22–36.) (Acts 2 Commentary)

Thomas Constable points out that there are 6 different kinds of preaching -

(1) kerugma, which means proclamation of the clear facts of the Christian message.

(2) didache or teaching. This was explanation and interpretation of the facts-the "so what?"

(3) paraklesis, exhortation to apply the message.

(4) homilia, the treatment of a subject or area of life in view of the Christian message.

(5) prophesia, the sharing of a word from God be it new revelation or old.

(6) apologia, a defense of the Christian message in the face of hostile adversaries.

Often the speaker combined two or more of these kinds of address into one message as Peter did in the sermon that follows. Here we find defense (Acts 2:14-21), proclamation (Acts 2:22-36), and exhortation (Acts 2:37-41). (Acts 2 Commentary)

Paul Apple - Here we see the ministry of the chosen apostles beginning; once more Peter functioning as spokesman for the group; This is the first sermon of the Christian era – gives us insight into a number of key elements of preaching – we will see that Christian sermons must be: 

  1. Authoritative proclamation -- Today’s culture shies away from any type of authoritative declaration -- speak forth, pronounce – not everyday speaking but more of a formal and public discourse; to speak one’s opinion plainly – required boldness – especially in the face of potential persecution by the Jews
  2. Consistent with the experience of the preacher; no hypocrisy; must walk the talk - Biblically based – quite a number of different texts used by Peter – yet also characterized by reasonable argumentation
  3. Christ centered – especially keying on the crucifixion and resurrection
  4. Application focused – requires a response from the hearers (The Spread of the Gospel)

Lehman Strauss - Following Peter’s enduement with power by the Holy Spirit, we notice that he expounded the Scriptures. The Pentecostal sermon was authoritative because it was scripturally correct. The copious use of Scripture here instructs us as to what our sermons should be like. Twelve out of the twenty-three verses are direct quotations from the Old Testament. In many quarters there is a total departure in present-day preaching from this Pentecostal procedure. Peter appealed to the inspired Word of God for the answer to the witnessed phenomena. He was preaching the Word. In Paul’s solemn charge to Timothy, he wrote, “Preach the Word” (II Timothy 4:2).  This is as it ought to be. The preacher’s message should proceed upon the assumption of the inspiration and infallibility of the Word of God. The true art of preaching is to stay by the “thus saith the Lord.” We are to be ministers of the Word. One word from God’s Book is worth more than all the jewels from all earthly books....In our day there is a drift away from expository preaching of the Bible. Many sermons are long on experience and story-telling but short on Bible teaching. Peter knew the Scriptures and how to apply them. (Pentecost and the Holy Spirit)

Messianic Jewish Pastor Steve Kreloff gives this illustration - The first time a man gives the sermon can be a very frightening experience and can be nerve-racking unnerving.  I know that I was extremely nervous the first time I ever gave a sermon in my experience I know it’s not unique because over the years I will serve many young men go through the same kind of anxiety that I had when I gave my first sermon. One of the reasons for such nervousness is because usually sitting in the audience is your pastor from someone you’ve heard give hundreds of sermon and it can be a little intimidating to have him there because you really don’t know what you’re doing and you know that he knows that you don’t know what you’re doing. Well that was the experience of students who attended Charles Spurgeon's preachers college where one of the requirements was to give a sermon to Mr. Spurgeon and the staff of the college. Much more this sermon had to be given on the spot there was no time to prepare. So you had him preach before the "prince of preachers." Talk about intimidating! On one occasion a student was given the subject of Zaccheus on which to preach (Lk 19:1-10). You remember Zaccheus was "a wee little man." The student stood up before Mr Spurgeon and the staff and said

"Zaccheus was of little stature. So am I!
Zaccheus was up a tree. So am I! |
Zaccheus came down. So will I!"

And with that he sat down. That was his sermon. At least he had three points and some application! I don’t think anyone can top the bad experience of Ron Walters who is the vice President of Salem radio. I've never heard anything more difficult. Listen to what happened to him you will forever have sympathy for a man preaching his first sermon. It was titled "Called to Abundant Labors." The whole notion was concocted by the church busy bodies on the Christian education committee who thought it would be great sport have a couple of ministry minded teenagers would preach on a Sunday night you know  churches version of American Idol. The evening service opened as always with a little singing, boring announcements, an offering and then it was our turn. The other guys' spoke first. At 14 we were the age and I assumed of equal talent. I was wrong. He started smoothly opening with a little joke. I feigned a laugh. He gestured confident and the crowd seemed impressed. His three points were alliterated and he was quickly getting on my nerves. He quoted scripture from memory followed by the pastors loud "Amen." My competition was on a roll. "Please God make him stop." When he finished the place eruptured with cheers. Then it was my turn. Stepping to the microphone I thought ominously like walking the plank. I was too nauseous to be nervous. Oone final adjustment to my clip on tie caused it to plop in to the standing glass of water spilling onto my hand written notes causing the ink to run. My sermon notes now look like finger paintings. The crowd began to giggle. My knees weren't knocking, they were missing! I had no joke, no outline, no rhyme or reason. Twelve minutes later I was done. The church with besieged in cold sweats. My mother took her first breath. The pastor cringed. The angels wept. It was the worst night of my life and God in His still small voice said "Get used to a kid, I've called you to preach." Suddenly, the word "He uses the foolish things of this world" had a new meaning. Balaam's donkey looked awfully familiar!  What Ron Walters went through and this young man who had to preach in front of Spurgeon were difficult but in a light and humorous way. On a more serious note I don’t think anyone ever faced to more formidable task in preaching his first sermon in the apostle Peter did on the day of Pentecost. First, Peter's audience was made up of some of the same people who 50 days earlier had cried out for Jesus to be crucified. They handed Him over to the Roman authorities. In Acts 2:23 Peter said "you (Jews) nailed (Jesus) to a cross (and) by the hands of godless men (Romans) and put Him to death." In Acts 2:36 he even accused them of murdering Jesus, their own Messiah! Secondly, the sermon was daunting because some of those in the audience were mockers, scoffers! (THINK ABOUT THIS PASTORS!). Third, Peter did not have a good "track record" when it came to courageously standing up for Jesus in a public setting (He publicly denied the Lord with cursings 3 times), before a crowd that could easily have attacked him and the 120 and brought them before the Roman authorities and have them crucified. In spite of all this Peter one of the greatest sermons in all of church history.  (Peter's Sermon About Pentecost, Part 1)

See table of Parallels in the Ministries of Jesus, Peter, and Paul in Luke–Acts.

Table of the Major Speeches and Sermons Preached in the book of Acts





Acts 1:16–22

In Upper Room

Acts 2:14-36

Jews in Jerusalem

Acts 3:11-26

Jews @ Solomon's Portico

Acts 4:8-12

Before Jewish council

Acts 5:29-32

Before Jewish council

Acts 10:34-43

Household of Cornelius

Acts 11:4-17

Jews in Jerusalem


Acts 5:35-39

Jews in Jerusalem


Acts 7:1-53

Jews in Jerusalem


Acts 13:16-47

Jews in Pisidian Antioch

Acts 17:22-31

Greeks in Athens

Acts 20:18-35

Church elders in Ephesus

Acts 22:1-21

Jews in Jerusalem

Acts 23:1-6

Before Sanhedrin

Acts 24:10-21

Felix and his court

Acts 26:1-29

Agrippa and his court

Acts 27:21-26


Acts 28:17-20, 25-28

Jews in Rome

Acts 2:15   "For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day;

KJV Acts 2:15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

Phillips - These men are not drunk as you suppose - it is after all only nine o'clock in the morning of this great feast day. No

  • For these men are not drunk 1 Sa 1:15
  • for it is only the third hour of the day Mt 20:3; 1 Th 5:5-8  
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


For (gar)...for (gar) - Term of explanation. What is Peter explaining with the first "for," and the second "for"? Even when the answer is obvious, this is always a good discipline to develop, for asking this question will force you to (1) slow down, (2) examine the context and (3) give the Holy Spirit the opportunity to illuminate the passage. Paul's "for's" are often not as easy as this passage!

These men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day - NET = "In spite of what you think, these men are not drunk." With a touch of humor, Peter says it is 9 AM (reckoned from sunrise the Jewish fashion of calculating time - 6 AM + 3 hours = 9 AM) which is not when (most) people get drunk. Only a hard‑core alcoholic would be drunk by 9 AM but certainly not a group of 120 men and women! This fact was so well-known and well-accepted by the Jews that this is all Peter needed to do to refute the mockers. 

Expository preacher Steven Cole says that "Often, a touch of humor can disarm your critics long enough to gain a hearing. If you are called on to preach, your introduction should grab the attention of the audience and make them want to hear the rest of what you have to say." (The Sermon that Launched the Church)

Peter is saying in essence "These men are not drunk with wine. Listen to what they are saying (Acts 2:13 = "speaking of the mighty deeds of God”) and watch how they are behaving and you will see that when they are not controlled by "spirits" but controlled by THE Spirit!"

Guzik - Commentator Adam Clarke says that most Jews – pious or not – did not eat or drink until after the third hour of the day, because that was the time for prayer, and they would only eat after their business with God was accomplished. (Acts 2 Commentary)

Wiersbe - Orthodox Jews did not eat or drink before 9 a.m. on the Sabbath or on a holy day, nor did they usually drink wine except with meals. (Bible Exposition Commentary)

John Stott adds that the believers who experienced the filling of the Spirit did not "seem to them or look to others like intoxication, because they had lost control of their normal mental and physical functions. No, the fruit of the Spirit is ‘self-control,’ not the loss of it.”  (Borrow The message of Acts : the Spirit, the church & the world)

Paul picks up the metaphorical comparison between being drunk with wine and being filled with the Spirit in Ephesians 5:18+. Pastor Ray Pritchard says "A similar comparison occurs in Ephesians 5:18+, “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit." What precisely is the point of comparison between wine and the Holy Spirit? Doubtless the issue is influence or control. A person under the influence of wine experiences altered behavior. He or she may say or do things he or she would not ordinarily do. Emotions may be heightened for a brief period, causing the person to experience anger followed quickly by elation followed quickly by depression (REFERRING TO THE EFFECT OF DRUNK WITH WINE). If the person drinks enough wine, his or her mental processes will be affected and decision-making ability radically altered-almost always with a negative result. The filling of the Holy Spirit produces a change in behavior. In the Book of Acts, once-timid disciples became flaming evangelists for Jesus Christ. In Ephesians 5:19-21+, Paul mentioned three practical results of the filling of the Spirit: Singing, a thankful heart, and an attitude of mutual submission. The last result is most significant because true submission always involves giving up your right to be in control in every situation. When we submit from the heart, we are saying, “I don’t have to have my way all the time.” Only a heart touched by the Holy Spirit can maintain such an attitude in every relationship of life. (Water, Wine, Wind, Fire)

Drunk (3184)(methuo from methe = wine) means to drink a lot or more freely than usual and thus can mean to become inebriated or drunk. However, methuo does not always mean one becomes drunk but just that they drink freely, e.g., at the wedding at Cana (Jn 2:10). Figuratively methuo describes being "made drunk with the wine of her immorality" (Rev 17:2) where the picture of those who are drunk refers to the intoxication of the earth dwellers who have been seduced by lust for power, influence, and money. Their desires, like strong drink, have affected their ability to see clearly or to reason rationally. Another figurative use is found in Rev 17:6+ where "the woman (was) drunk with the blood of the saints" (Rev 17:6) which speaks of the slaughter of the saints.

Gilbrant - The Septuagint also uses methuō and its cognates for literal drunkenness (e.g., Genesis 9:21; Proverbs 20:1; Isaiah 19:14; Ezekiel 23:33; Joel 1:5). Figuratively the related verb methuskō (from methuo) describes the sword of the Lord which is “drunk” from the blood of those slain by His wrath (Isaiah 34:5-7). 

Methuo - 7x in 7v - drunk(3), drunk freely(1), drunkards(1), get drunk(1), made drunk(1).

Mt. 24:49; Jn. 2:10; Acts 2:15; 1 Co. 11:21; 1 Th 5:7 = "those who get drunk (methusko) get drunk at night"; Rev. 17:2; Rev. 17:6

Methuo - 10x in 10v in the Septuagint - 

1 Sam. 1:13; 1 Sam. 25:36; 1 Ki. 16:9; 1 Ki. 20:16; Job 12:25; Ps. 107:27; Isa. 19:14; Isa. 24:20; Isa. 28:1; Isa. 51:21; Isa. 58:11; Joel 1:5

You suppose (5274)(hupolambano) literally means to take up as Jesus was taken up into the sky (Acts 1:9) but figuratively here means to "take up" an idea and so to assume or suppose. 

Acts 2:16   but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:

KJV Acts 2:16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

  • spoken of through the prophet Joel Joel 2:28-32
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


The KJV phrase "This is That" was the title of a well-known 1968 book by F F Bruce entitled "Borrow The New Testament development of Old Testament themes)

Peter responds with Scripture to address the mockers in Acts 2:13 and others who had a sincere question "What does this mean?" in Acts 2:12. The answer to their question "What does this mean?" is "This is that" (to quote the KJV) where "this" refers in context to the outpouring of the Spirit. This seems very plain and straightforward. However, before we begin this section, the reader needs to be aware that there is considerable variation in how Acts 2:17-20 is interpreted. 

I tend to agree with those who see a partial fulfillment of Joel's prophecy (cf MacArthur), so that Acts 2:17,18 is partially fulfilled in the Spirit's outpouring on all mankind (Acts 2:17) and on My bondslaves (Acts 2:18). Regarding the phrase on all mankind clearly not everyone on planet earth has had the Spirit poured out on them, neither at Pentecost nor in the last almost 2000 years. The most reasonable interpretation then is that the Spirit is poured out on all of mankind who put their faith in the Messiah, those who are His bondslaves. Peter's quotation from Joel in Acts 2:19, 20 on the other hand (if interpreted literally and not spiritualized or interpreted figuratively as some writers do) seems to clearly speak of the end of this present evil age, giving us a summary description of the catastrophic cosmic and global events that will take place in the Day of the Lord prior to the return of Christ. And where might we find a description of those cosmic events? The book of Revelation. 

So let's summarize what regarding which we can be relatively confident --

In order to explain what the Jews had witnessed in the 120 disciples speaking foreign languages, Peter quotes Joel who had predicted the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (although he did not mention "tongues.") Peter associates Joel's prophecy (under the inspiration of the Spirit) with the beginning of the last days which coincides with Messiah's first coming (a coming that brings salvation Acts 2:17, 18) and the end of the last days coincides with Messiah's Second Coming (a coming that brings judgment - Acts 2:19, 20). But after mentioning wonders and signs associated with judgment Acts 2:21 gives an invitation which if accepted allows one to escape the coming judgment. This simplistic interpretation would fit with what Peter was seeking to accomplish - To answer the question of the Jewish crowd about what the speaking in various languages meant but also to present the good news to the Jews that the door of salvation was open in faith in the Messiah.  

S Lewis Johnson - I believe that what we have is a partial fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy. Any stronger words for fulfillment could not be devised than “this is that,” and yet there are certain things in this prophecy that apparently have not yet been fulfilled.(This is That)

Steven Cole - Peter’s main point is not the particular form that the outpouring of the Spirit took (ED: JOEL MAKES NO MENTION OF TONGUES BUT ONLY THAT THE SPIRIT WOULD BE POURED OUT), but rather that He was poured out “on all flesh.” (on all mankind) Not just the prophets or rabbis, but even sons and daughters would experience this outpouring of the Spirit (Acts 2:17). Not just the older men, but also younger men would know the Lord and His will (“visions”). Not just the wealthy, but even bondslaves would know the fullness of the Spirit. Not just men, but also women would have the Spirit. As the apostle Paul later taught, “by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13). No believer today lacks the presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit. (The Sermon that Launched the Church Acts 2:14-41)

But - Term of contrast

This is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel - The KJV says "This is that." The pronoun this refers to the events occurring on this feast day.  So this (Pentecostal phenomena) is that (Prophecy from Joel). Peter explains that what they are witnessing is not drunk men but an alive Bible, with the Old Testament prophecy from Joel 2:28-32 being partially fulfilled before their very eyes and ears! Peter was simply explaining that the events that were transpiring were in accord with what had been foretold. In so doing Peter affirms his belief in the authenticity and authority of the Old Testament writings. In his sermon, Peter is being moved by the Holy Spirit to speak boldly and authoritatively from God!

I like the phrase through the prophet Joel which gives us the picture that the prophets (and all the men who wrote the Bible) were conduits through (Greek = dia) whom God spoke to mankind. Peter's experience of understanding the OT passages he explains in this sermon undoubtedly allowed him to confidently (inspired by the Spirit)  later write "no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God." (2 Peter 1:21+) We see this same pattern of God speaking through His human messenger in Luke 1:70; 18:31; Acts 1:16, 3:18, 21; 28:25. 

As an aside Peter's quote from Joel (Joel 2:28-32) represents the same 5 verses that the Hebrew Bible places in a separate chapter, Joel chapter 3. Interesting!

Ray Stedman makes an interesting observation - It is important also to notice that in this quotation of Joel there is no mention at all of tongues. Is that not strange? Peter says, "This is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel," but Joel does not mention tongues. Instead he refers to another gift of the Spirit, the gift of prophecy. Prophecy is the ability, in power, to declare the Word of God, to tell forth the Word of God. It will be manifested by young men and old, even servants and obscure people. They shall be equipped by the Spirit to tell forth the Word of God with power. That will be the mark of the age, he says. The emphasis is not upon tongues at all, not even upon gifts, but upon the Spirit who gives the gifts. The age will begin, Peter says, with the pouring out of the Spirit. It will end, Peter indicates, by the sun being turned into darkness, and the moon into blood.  (What is This?)

Steven Cole - He did not have a Bible in book form, since books as we know them were not yet invented. And he did not unroll several scrolls to the right text so that he could read these verses. Rather, he recited them from memory! If you want to be an effective witness for Jesus Christ, you must memorize certain Scriptures that explain the gospel. You will not always have a Bible handy to look up the verses. (The Sermon that Launched the Church) (See importance of Memorizing His Word) I would add that if you have memorized His Word you will be much more likely to "always be ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence!" (1 Peter 3:15+). 

Derek Thomas adds that "This is fundamentally important for us to understand: the Bible writers of the New Testament were deeply conscious of continuing the story of redemption that had begun in Eden....Peter, then, provides us with a model of what preaching is: exposition of God’s written Word (See expository preaching) with a view to applying it to the present and preparing us for the future. Such preaching has the blessing of God upon it." (Ibid)

John Phillips - "This is that!" Never before had there been such an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, not even among the Hebrew people. Occasionally in the past God had raised up a Moses or a Malachi, a David or a Daniel, even occasionally some obscure prophet or some godly woman, a Deborah, a Hannah, a Huldah. But never anything like this! Scores of people, all at once, in one place, in evident power, proclaiming the mighty works of God and in the languages of the Gentile world! What before had been restricted and rare was now made available to all. (Exploring Acts)

ILLUSTRATION - Peter, A Man Full of God's Word and Spirit - Harry Ironside is a great example of a preacher full of God's Word. Under his mother's guidance Harry began to memorize Scripture when he was three. By age fourteen he had read through the Bible fourteen times, "once for each year." During the rest of his life he read the Bible through at least once a year. A pastor friend told me of a Bible conference at which he and Ironside were two of the speakers. During the conference the speakers discussed their approaches to personal devotions. Each man shared what he had read from the Word that morning. When it was Ironside's turn, he hesitated, then said, "I read the book of Isaiah." He was saturated with the Word of God. I can say with reservation that in the matter of scholarship and preaching, knowledge of the English Bible is of far greater importance than knowing Greek or Hebrew or mastering dogmatics. Karl Barth put it this way, imitating a Biblical warning: "If thou art a learned man, take care lest with all thy erudite reading (which is not reading God's Word) thou forgettest perchance to read God's Word." If we are truly feeding on the Scriptures, the Spirit will be pleased to use us to communicate his truth. Not only was Peter full of the Word, but he was full of the Spirit. (Preaching the Word – Acts: The Church Afire)


Anticipate the Lord's coming for His own at any moment,
since we are already in the last days.
-- John Walvoord

Below is a crude schematic which shows the relationship of the Last Days to the Day of the Lord (and other crucial end time events) both of these "days" being mentioned by Peter in his sermon (Acts 2:17, Acts 2:20).


First Coming
of Christ
Church Age Second Coming
of Christ
Millennial Reign
of Christ


    Day of the LORD
begins in Tribulation
Last 3.5 years called:
Great Tribulation
Time of Jacob's Distress
Day of the Lord
ends at end
of the Millennium
(See 2 Peter 3:10+)

John Walvoord one of the leading scholars in the field of eschatology (prophecy) has this explanation of the last days...

THE BIBLE USES THE PHRASES “the last days” and “the last times” with reference to several different time periods. Since the coming of God's promised Messiah is identified with the last days, there is a sense in which they began with the incarnation of Jesus Christ: “In these last days He [God] has spoken [finally, once for all] to us by his Son” (Heb. 1:2-note), and “He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake” (1 Pet. 1:20-note).

Broadly speaking, therefore, the last days include the earthly life and ministry of Jesus Christ, the entire history of the church to the present, as well as all events prophesied in the Scriptures that are still unfulfilled (ED: ONE MIGHT ARGUE THIS POINT - IN OTHER WORDS DO THE "LAST DAYS" INCLUDE THE MILLENNIUM, THE GREAT WHITE THRONE JUDGMENT, THE NEW HEAVEN AND NEW EARTH? JUST ASKING THE QUESTION FOR YOU TO PONDER.) Even near the beginning of the church's history John pointed out that the “many antichrists [who] have come” are evidence that this “is the last hour” (1 John 2:18-note).

Although these predicted events may point to the last days in a broader sense than just the life of the church, Paul warned Timothy that “there will be terrible times in the last days” (2 Ti 3:1-note). Then he described the character of people, ending with the clause, “having a form of godliness but denying its power” (2 Ti 3:5-note). Both Peter and Jude warned that in the last days “scoffers” will come ("the last days" = 2 Pet. 3:3-note; "the last time" = Jude 1:18-note). Although such opposers of the Christian faith appeared in the early generations of church history, they apparently will increase and become more active as the church approaches its last days.

In the Old Testament the last days are identified with God's yet-future blessings of restoration and salvation for His chosen people Israel (Deut. 30:1-10-commentary). God will pour His Spirit on the people of Israel and save them (Jeremiah 23:3-8; Joel 2:28-32-commentary). The people of Israel will return to the Lord (Hosea 3:5), and God will restore them to the Promised Land and Jerusalem will become the capital of all nations (Isa. 2:2-5-commentary; Micah 4:1-8-commentary). Numerous other prophecies speak of these future blessings for Israel without using the phrase “the last days.

Before that future time of blessedness will occur, a time of conflict and judgment will come in which God will defeat both His human and His satanic enemies (Joel 2:30-31-commentary; Joel 3:9-15-commentary). This time of tribulation is called “the Day of the LORD” (Isaiah 13:6, 9-13-commentary; Zeph. 1:14-18; Mal. 4:1-3, 5-commentary). It in turn will be followed by “the coming of salvation” (1 Pet. 1:5-note) and the fulfillment of Christ's promise of resurrection “at the last day” (John 6:39-40, 44, 54).


Notice that Dr Walvoord alludes to the Day of the LORD, so the question arises as to how does this "Day" relate to the "last days?" The last days in one sense is the more "all-inclusive" term, which seems to include the first portion of the time period known as the Day of the LORD (see schematic below).  Recall that the last days began with Christ's first coming and end at Christ's Second Coming. We are now in the last days, but we are not in the Day of the LORD. If our eschatological chronology is correct, the Day of the LORD begins in the "last" of the last days so to speak. Specifically, the Day of the LORD begins according to some scholars with the rapture of the church and beginning of the Tribulation (7 year period = Daniel's Seventieth Week), whereas others would place the beginning of the Day of the LORD at the mid-point of the Tribulation when the Anti-Christ reveals his Satanically empowered character and initiates the last 3.5 year Great Tribulation (Mt 24:15+, 2 Th 2:3-4+, cf also Acts 2:19-20 describing the dramatic cosmic signs that will precede the onset of the Day of the LORD). The Great Tribulation will be abruptly terminated by the glorious return of Christ (which is also signaled by dramatic cosmic signs - see Mt 24:29,30+), the King of kings and Lord of lords (Rev 19:16+), at which time He defeats the Anti-Christ and all other godless opposition and establishes His 1000 year Kingdom on earth (See Revelation 19:11-21+, Revelation 20:4-6+). So while the last days includes a "segment" of the Day of the LORD, it would appear that when Christ returns, the last days comes to an end. The Day of the LORD however does not end at the return of Christ, but at the end of the 1000 year reign. Why do we say that? Peter uses the same "time phrase" explaining that "the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up." (2 Peter 3:10+) When does this event occur? At the end of the Millennium and just prior to the establishment of the New Heavens and New Earth (Rev 21:1ff+). There is a "strange" (to me) period of time after the present heavens and earth are destroyed as Peter describes. It is during this unusual "interval" of no earth and no heaven that unbelievers from the beginning of time will be judged (the Great White Throne judgment). John seems at a loss for words in describing this unusual time writing "Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them." (Rev 20:11+) Notice in this passage, John does not describe an earth or heaven and this would correspond to the fact that Peter says they have been "obliterated" in the Day of the LORD. While one cannot be dogmatic, the end of the earth and heavens (and possibly including the great white throne judgment) would seem to mark the end of that period known as the Day of the LORD. Indeed, if the Day of the LORD is primarily a day of divine judgment, would it not make sense for the final judgment of mankind, the Great White Throne judgment, be the appropriate terminus? It would seem that the phrase, the last days, would have ended 1000 years earlier. Now are you really confused? Realize that this chronological picture is not presented with dogmatism but only as a reasonable possibility! I also realize that in order to explain last days and Day of the LORD one needs to invoke many prophecies from many different books of the Bible, but that is the general nature of prophecy and frankly I think one reason many find it very difficult and/or very confusing. And so in fairness, the Berean reader must understand that much of what is stated above is predicated on a literal interpretation of Scripture regardless whether it is poetic or prophetic, etc. If you are not a literalist, then the preceding analysis probably makes no sense to you. My favorite saying however is if the plain sense of a Biblical text makes good sense in context, than one should not attempt to make some other sense out of it, (such as one is forced to do when spiritualizing a text or using allegorical interpretations) lest it end up being nonsense.

The first mention (in the NAS) of the specific phrase "the last days" is found in the Old Testament in Isaiah 2:1-4

The word which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem (NOTE: THIS IS IMPORTANT! THIS "WORD" IS NOT PRIMARILY GIVEN TO THE CHURCH BUT TO THE JEWS. WE AS MEMBERS OF CHRIST'S BODY WILL DEFINITELY PARTICIPATE IN THE .  2 Now it will come about that In the last days, The mountain of the house of the LORD Will be established as the chief of the mountains, And will be raised above the hills; And all the nations will stream to it (see depiction of the topography of Jerusalem in this glorious day).  3 And many peoples will come and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, To the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways, And that we may walk in His paths.” For the law will go forth from Zion, And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.  4 And He will judge between the nations, And will render decisions for many peoples; And they will hammer their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, And never again will they learn war. (Isaiah 2:1-4--commentary)

Comment: Keeping in mind that the last days began with Christ's first coming, here in Isaiah 2:1-4 we have a prophecy which will be fulfilled at Christ's Second ComingChrist will return at the end of the last half of Daniel's Seventieth Week, specifically at the end of the 3.5 year period (see the other synonymous time phrases = 1260 days, 42 months, "time, times, and half a time") which Jesus' referred to in Matthew 24:21+ as the Great Tribulation.

This dreadful time is also referred to by Jeremiah as the Time of Jacob's Distress (Jeremiah 30:7+) and by Daniel as "a time of distress" (Da 12:1+). In His Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24-25), Jesus gave His Jewish disciples the specific starting "time" of this horrible 3.5 year period:

Therefore when (TIME SENSITIVE WORD - JESUS ALERTS THE JEWS TO SOMETHING CRITICALLY IMPORTANT) you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet (Daniel 9:27-commentary), standing in the holy place (REBUILT TEMPLE - cf Rev 11:1-2+) (let the reader understand) (SEE PAUL'S "COMMENTARY" ON THIS SAME EVENT - 2 Thes 2:3+, 2 Th 2:4+), 16 THEN (WHEN? WHEN THEY SEE THE PREVIOUS EVENT TAKE PLACE IN THE TEMPLE!) those who are in Judea must flee to the mountains. 17 “Whoever is on the housetop must not go down to get the things out that are in his house. 18 “Whoever is in the field must not turn back to get his cloak. 19 “But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 20 “But pray that your flight will not be in the winter, or on a Sabbath. 21 “For THEN (WHEN? NEAREST ANTECEDENT IS "WHEN" IN Mt 24:15) there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will (THIS DESCRIPTION IS CRITICAL AND IS SIMILAR TO THAT IN Daniel 12:1+ - IT STRONGLY REFUTES THE INTERPRETATION BY THOSE WHO SAY THIS PROPHECY HAS BEEN FULFILLED IN 70AD WHEN THE ROMANS DESTROYED THE TEMPLE, ETC. WHY DO I SAY THAT? BECAUSE THE NAZI HOLOCAUST KILLED FAR MORE JEWS THAN THE ROMANS - YET THERE IS AN EVEN WORSE "HOLOCAUST" COMING WHEN THE ANTICHRIST REVEALS HIMSELF FOR WHO HE REALLY IS AT THE MIDPOINT OF THE 7 YEAR "TRIBULATION" AND 2 OUT 3 JEWS ARE KILLED [Zechariah 13:8-9+] - See Daniel 9:27+). 22 “Unless those days (THESE ARE EVENTS IN THE "LAST DAYS" OVERLAPPING WITH THE DAY OF THE LORD) had been cut short, no life would have been saved; but for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. 

Now, keep in mind that what Jesus is describing in Matthew 24 are just some of the events that will occur in the last days. And notice also that one of the most important days of the last days is described in Matthew 24:15, which sadly is a controversial passage, because this passage will be the key to Jewish survival in the last days! To misinterpret this passage is potentially to miss the way of escape (cf JESUS' WORDS - Mt 24:16-20+) when the Antichrist reveals himself as the Satanically empowered (Revelation 13:4-5+ where "BEAST" = ANTI-CHRIST), Anti-Semitic ruthless leader that he will be for 3.5 years. Because Matthew 24:15 is so important to the nation of Israel, I have written an in depth commentary in which I address and refute the interpretations of those writers who do not interpret the Olivet Discourse literally. Click here for the commentary on Matthew 24:15 (and at the top of the page you can advance to the next verse). 

The return of the Messiah will (1) put an end to the Great Tribulation and (2) will bring about establishment of His literal, earthly Millennial Kingdom. Isaiah 2:1-4 and Micah 4:1-3 are virtually identical passages that describe the setting up of Messiah's Kingdom on earth with His throne in Jerusalem (on Mt Zion-see note). 

And to reiterate, this general time period is also known as the Day of the LORD, which clealy is not a single day but a period of time in which the LORD engages with the world to bring about judgment of all the ungodly nations and to deliver a redeemed remnant in the nation of Israel (Ro 11:25-29-note, Zech 13:8-9-commentary).


KJV Acts 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

  • It shall be in the last days - Ge 49:1; Isa 2:2; Da 10:14; Hosea 3:5; Micah 4:1; He 1:2; James 5:3; 2 Peter 3:3
  • God says that "I will pour forth of My Spirit"  Acts 10:45; Ps 72:6; Pr 1:23; Isa 32:15,16; 44:3; Ezek 11:19; 36:25-27; Ezek 39:29; Zech 12:10; John 7:39; Titus 3:4-6
  • On all mankind - Ge 6:12; Ps 65:2; Isa 40:5; 49:26; 66:23; Zech 2:13; Luke 3:6; John 17:2
  • And your sons and your daughters shall prophesy -  Acts 11:28; 21:9; 1 Cor 12:10,28; 14:26-31
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Peter, Jewish to the core, now quotes from the Septuagint version of the Old Testament (not word for word but adapting it to his purpose) before a large Jewish congregation. So in answering their question "What does this mean?"  (Acts 2:12), He does not answer by giving them an explanation of the Holy Spirit, but by associating the Spirit's coming with the Last Days, an Old Testament phrase that would have been very familiar to his Jewish audience (See Excursus on The Last Days). To the Jews the Last Days referred to when Messiah comes and their hope was that He would conquer Israel's enemies and restore the nation to prominence (one reason many Jews did not think Jesus was the expected Messiah). As shown in the diagram above, the coming of the Messiah inaugurates the Last Days. What the OT prophets did not explicitly state was that while there was one Messiah, He would come two times, and in between these two times we have the Church Age. The Last Days is often confused with the days preceding Messiah's Second Coming (cf Day of the Lord), but that is not the case. To reiterate, the Last Days refers to the period that began with Messiah's first coming and will end when Messiah returns to set up His Kingdom on earth. So we are presently in the Last Days even though they have lasted for almost 2000 years. Are we in the "last" of the last days. Only God knows, but we do know we are one day closer!

We see the truth of the last days taught repeatedly in the NT...

The apostle John writes

Children, it is the last hour (synonymous with last days); and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. (1 John 2:18+)

Peter writes 

For He was foreknown before the foundation of the world, but has appeared in these last times (synonymous with last days) for the sake of you (1 Peter 1:20+)

The writer of Hebrews

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, 2 in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, Whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world.  (Heb. 1:1-2+)

Paul writes

But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. (2 Timothy 3:1+)

James writes

Your gold and your silver have rusted; and their rust will be a witness against you and will consume your flesh like fire. It is in the last days that you have stored up your treasure! (James 5:3)

So the last days have been going on for 2000 years and Peter is explaining to the Jewish audience that what was happening on the Day of Pentecost was exactly what the Jewish prophet Joel had predicted would happen in the last days. It follows that for 2000 years the Spirit of God has been poured out on all mankind, whether Jew or Gentile, that has placed their faith in Jesus as their Redeemer and Lord and He will continue to be poured out until the end of this present age, until the end of the last days which will come to an end when Jesus returns. 

Last (2078)(eschatos gives us "eschatology")  an adjective which means last in time or space/place (most remote) (Acts 1:8, Acts 13:47). Eschatos indicates the meaning “last” in the sense of a final stage in a process. For example, in Rev 15:1 the “last seven” plagues of judgment against the earth are declared to be the completion of God’s wrath against the wickedness of humankind. Eschatos can indicate the final element in a significant series. Eschatology then is the study of the "last things", especially the times preceding and culminating in the Second Coming of the King of kings (Rev 17:14+, Rev 19:16+). Indeed, the return of our Lord Jesus Christ is the final (eschatos) stage of the drama, the consummation of the history ("HIS-story") of the world! 

Here is Joel 2:28 "It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions."  Note that as alluded to above, Peter changes the wording slightly, adapting to his purpose. And so while Joel says "It will come about after this," Peter says it "shall be in the last days." Notice Peter does not say this event on the Day of Pentecost fulfilled Joel's prophecy.  

John MacArthur explains the importance of Peter's reference to the last days - Viewed in that context of intense Jewish expectation (OF THE MESSIAH), Peter's announcement that the last days, a name for messianic times, had already begun (Acts 2:16-21) was shocking. That startling claim, made by the apostle in the introduction to his sermon on the Day of Pentecost, directed his hearers logically into his sermon's theme. For if the messianic times had indeed begun, then Messiah must have come. That is precisely the thesis Peter develops in the main body of his sermon. He presents the truth that Israel's long-awaited Messiah has come in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. It is difficult for twentieth-century readers to appreciate how profoundly disturbing that claim was to the Jews. Messiah was the central figure in Jewish thought....In light of that, for Peter to boldly proclaim Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah had to both shock and outrage his listeners. After all, less than two months earlier they had executed Jesus for claiming to be the Messiah. Now his upstart followers were making that same claim on His behalf. To the Jewish mind, there could be no greater expression of blasphemy. (See Acts 1-12 MacArthur New Testament Commentary) (Bolding added).

I Howard Marshall explains that "Peter regards Joel’s prophecy as applying to the last days, and claims that his hearers are now living in the last days. God’s final act of salvation has begun to take place." (Borrow The Acts of the Apostles : an introduction and commentary)

John Piper describes the last days this way - We are living in the last days, because the last days began with the first coming of Jesus...we live between the beginning of the end of the age and the end of the end of the age. We live between the beginning of the kingdom of God and the consummation of the kingdom. (ED: PIPER IS "PREMILLENNIAL" WHICH MEANS HE BELIEVES IN A MILLENNIUM, BUT LIKE HIS MENTOR GEORGE LADD AT FULLER SEMINARY, PIPER DOES NOT BELIEVE IN A PRE-TRIBULATION RAPTURE, BUT A POST-TRIBULATION RAPTURE. I PERSONALLY DISAGREE WITH PIPER'S VIEW ON THE RAPTURE, A VIEW HIS OWN FATHER, A PASTOR, ACTUALLY HELD! BUT PIPER STUDIED UNDER LADD AND WHETHER WE ADMIT IT OR NOT, WE ARE ALL CONSIDERABLY INFLUENCED BY THE ONES WHO HAVE TAUGHT US THE SCRIPTURE!) 

And it shall be in the last days God says that I will pour forth of My Spirit on all mankind - Peter is telling the Jewish crowd that what they are observing is God's pouring forth of the Holy Spirit on all of mankind, which in context does not mean every person on the planet, but all of God's people, all who believe in His Son. In that sense, this prophecy would seem to represent a "partial fulfillment." What do I say "partial?" First, not all mankind (which by the way opens the door of salvation to both Jews and Gentiles) was saved at this time. But this is a day coming when all will be saved at the inception of the Millennium. In other words all who enter into the Millennial Kingdom, both Jews and Gentiles, are those who have received the Holy Spirit because they are born again. Some would dispute this interpretation, but it seems the best way to understand the all inclusive statement of "on all mankind." As an aside, in the Old Testament on whom was the Spirit active? His ministry was selective and He predominantly came upon prophets, priests and kings. But Peter says that now a new age has arrived and hereafter the Spirit would be poured out on all mankind who believe and all those who enter the Millennial Kingdom. Unfortunately, children will be born during the Millennium who will not exercise personal faith in the Messiah and assemble with Satan for one last rebellion against the Messiah (Rev 20:7-10+). 

Darrell Bock - The universality of the distribution is one of the main elements of the promise. Before this new period, the Spirit had been distributed to a few people on special occasions for special enablement (see Luke 3:4–6 [Isa. 40:3–5], Lk 3:16–17). This is a key sign that the new era has come. Right now Peter understands this outpouring as referring to Jews, but he will come to see, as the Lord leads, that this universality includes Gentiles. The rest of the citation makes clear that people of every gender, age, and class are meant. (Baker Exegetical Commentary)

Ray Stedman - Peter's explanation is very simple. This, he said, is what Joel declared would happen. It is, therefore, neither unexpected nor unexplained. It is what Joel predicted. The key to this passage from Joel is the phrase, all flesh (all mankind). "I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh." If you read the prophecy as it occurs in the second chapter of Joel, you will find that, before this passage, the prophet had predicted that the Lord would visit His people. He would come to them and would live in their midst (Joel 2:27). Then, as the prophet puts it, "afterward" ("It will come about after this" - Joel 2:28) "I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh." The contrast is between the visitation of God to Israel, and the pouring out of the Spirit upon all peoples everywhere -- Gentiles as well as Jew. The emphasis of this section (Acts 2:16-18) is that now the good news about Jesus Christ is to go out to the Gentiles as well as the Jews. Up to this point it had been confined to the Jewish nation. Jesus had said more than once, "I have come only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." (Matthew 10:6, 15:24). But he had also said, "Other sheep have I which are not of this fold; these also I must bring that there may be one flock." (John 10:16). Now Peter announces that the time has come when God would pour out his Spirit upon all flesh, Jews and Gentiles alike. Not only all people everywhere, but all kinds of people -- young men, young women, male and female. "Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions." Note the emphasis upon youth. God is saying that in this age of the Spirit, leadership, effectiveness, and power will not be limited to grey hairs, but also young men and young women shall speak and lead -- shall see visions and prophesy. Even servants, menservants and maidservants, obscure people, insignificant people, upon them God would pour out his Spirit; and they would prophesy. All classes are affected by this. What Peter did not say is as important as what he did say. He said this is what Joel predicted, but he did not use the phrase which is usually used in the New Testament concerning an Old Testament prophecy. He did not say, "Thus is fulfilled what was said by the prophet Joel." From other Scriptures we learn that Joel's prophecy has yet to be fulfilled in a greater way. Once again God will visit his people at the second return of Jesus Christ. Then, after his return, the Spirit will be poured out again. When Peter quotes this passage he changes the word which Joel used, "afterward," to the phrase, "in the last days." Thus Peter is adapting this to the present age of the Spirit which begins, he says, with the pouring out of the Spirit of God. (What is This?)

John Piper on all mankind or all flesh - This means that the outpouring of the fullness of the Holy Spirit is not to be restricted or held in; God means it to be worldwide. This too is the meaning of the time we live in. It is the great missionary time. We simply don't know the meaning of our day if we are content with the present extent of the gospel and the out-pouring of the Spirit on the unreached peoples of the world. When Joel and Peter say that the young men will see visions and the old men will dream dreams, this is what they have in mind—dreams and visions about the spread of the kingdom of God until "all flesh" is reached. One strong evidence for this is that in the rest of the book of Acts all the dreams and visions are given for missionary strategy and missionary motivation. Ananias (Acts 9) has a vision to go commission Paul for his great missionary work. Peter (Acts 10) has a vision to carry the gospel and the Spirit to the Gentiles at Cornelius' house. Paul (Acts 16) has a vision of Europeans saying, "Come over into Macedonia and help us." (See also Acts 18:9; 26:19.) When the Spirit comes in his fullness, this is what will happen for the young and for the old. The Bible says, you are never to old to see a vision and dream a dream for the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ—never! (Old and Young Shall Dream Together - Read this entire sermon from 1981 for Piper's view on the significance of Acts 2:16-17)

In another sermon (in 1981) Piper says this about all mankind or all flesh - Third, we learn that "all flesh" does not mean every human without exception. This was already clear from the Old Testament. Already Joel said, "Whoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved" (Joel 2:32). There are those who do not call on the name of the Lord; they sense no need for him and no joy in him. But it is impossible that the promise of the Spirit belongs to them. All flesh does not mean every individual; it means every sort of individual in every nation. It means that no one can look at anything he is by birth and say, "This excludes me from the promise." But what we do learn new from the New Testament is that the only way to receive the promise of the Spirit is to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of our sins. Peter concludes his sermon in Acts 2:38 with these words: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."Therefore Peter announces that with the coming of Jesus Christ, "calling upon the name of the Lord" means turning from all other hopes and calling upon Jesus in the act of baptism (cf. 1 Peter 3:21).....I conclude, therefore, that the prophecy of Joel 2:28–32 does apply to us, precisely to us who claim to pin our hope for salvation on Jesus. And, therefore, I return to my original application: Would that all God's people were prophets! A friend of mine, Mark Noll, who teaches history at Wheaton, wrote a review of a recent publication of Jonathan Edwards' scientific writings. He said something about Edwards which I want so much to be true of me, and which I pray will be true of all of you. He said, "Jonathan Edwards was a thoroughly God-besotted individual." "Do not be drunk with wine, but be filled with the Spirit" (Ephesians 5:18). Perhaps, after all, Peter and the 120 were drunk—inebriated by the beauty and greatness of God. (Acts 2:17 This Is What Was Spoken By the Prophet Joel)

G Campbell Morgan has an interesting thought on the Spirit poured forth on all mankind or all flesh - The Spirit is upon all flesh for clearly defined purposes. He is on all flesh to convict of sin, of righteousness, of judgment. He is in the human race as the power that hinders evil, and He will hinder until He be taken out of the way. (Acts Commentary 2:14-21)

Pour out gives one the picture of the Spirit being poured out like a torrential downpour on a scorched and thirsty earth!

I will pour forth (1632)(ekcheo from ek = out + chéo = pour) means literally to flow out, to gush forth or to pour out . The inherent idea is to cause something to be emitted in quantity. This verb is used 3x in this chapter - Acts 2:17, 18, 33. Note that in Acts 2:33+ Peter teaches that it is Jesus Who is responsible for the pouring out of the Holy Spirit (See this depicted in the diagram above)

Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit (Lk 24:49+), He (JESUS THE NAZARENE) has poured forth this which you both see and hear.

Paul uses ekcheo to describe the pouring out of the Spirit in Titus 3:5+. His point is that the Spirit is poured out on each believer when they experience the new birth. In a sense, the Spirit's work in each believer as a member of the Body (1 Cor 12:13+) is a continuation of the Pentecostal outpouring. The most concentrated use of ekcheo (9x/16 total) is in chapter 16 of Revelation which describes the pouring out of the seven bowls of God's wrath (Rev 16:1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 17+). What a striking contrast - either God pours out His Spirit of grace on believers or He pours out (via His angels) His righteous wrath on earth dwellers (unbelievers). And thus the importance of responding to the invitation in Acts 2:21! To say it another way the LAST DAYS begins with an outpouring of the Spirit, but will end with an outpouring of God's wrath! Call on the Name Jesus, for as Paul said it is "Jesus, Who rescues us from the wrath to come." (1 Th 1:10+). 

This division of last days into a time of the Spirit of grace and a time of divine judgment in the "last" of the last days reminds us of the prophecy in Isaiah 61:2 which says "To proclaim (GOOD NEWS) the favorable year of the LORD and (BAD NEWS) the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn." Jesus quoted the first part in His first message in the synagogue in Nazareth (Lk 4:16-20+) ending His message with the declaration "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Lk 4:21). At that time He did not quote the phrase "the day of vengeance of our God" for that day, like the time described in Acts 2:19-20, described a yet to be fulfilled future day of God's fury poured out on a Christ rejecting world.

Note that this same verb ekcheo is used in the prophecy of Zechariah 12:10 (in the Septuagint) which is a prophecy that will not be fulfilled until the last of the "last days," most likely the last half of Daniel's Seventieth Week, the time of Jacob's Distress

“I will pour out (Lxx = ekcheo) on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn. (Zechariah 12:10-14+)

This section of conviction and contrition is followed by God's provision of salvation Zechariah 13:1+ recording "“In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity. 

Comment: In short, those on whom the Spirit is poured out are Jews who will be saved, Zechariah 13:8+ indicating that 2/3's of the Jews will perish, but 1/3 will be saved (cf "all Israel will be saved" - Ro 11:26+). 

Mankind (4561)(sarx) is literally "flesh" so the KJV translates it "on all flesh." One way to interpret this in the present age would be to interpret it as signifying God would not just pour forth His Spirit on Jewish believers but on Gentile believers, on males and females, on rich and pour. Speaking of regeneration (of men and women who are born again) Paul writes God "poured out (the Spirit) upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior." (Titus 3:6, cf Ro 5:5+) All mankind who believes in Jesus will receive the Holy Spirit (cf Ro 8:9+).

James Smith on pouring out of the Spirit - At the marriage at Cana, the best wine—the gift of Christ—was kept to the last. So in "these last days" the best wine has been given in the coming of the Holy Ghost. Between this promise made to Joel and the fulfillment there lay twenty-four generations; but His faithfulness faileth not. The Spirit has been given, but "all flesh" have not yet been touched with the flame of this life-quickening fire. But surely this also will come to pass. Let us join the Lord's remembrancers, and pray for it. The testimony of a living Church must be to God's faithfulness to His Word. (Handfuls on Purpose)

W A Criswell - The eschatalogical prophecies of Joel envisioned a day like Pentecost and the speaking in various languages (Joel 2:28). The key phrase here is "all flesh" (Acts 2:17). These words mean that the Spirit of God would come upon all people without discrimination: young, old, servants, women, and other groups ordinarily omitted. The messianic era has been inaugurated, though its climactic fulfillment is yet in the future.

Guzik quips that in the past "the Holy Spirit was given in drops, now He is poured forth!" (Acts 2 Commentary)

ESV Study Bible (borrow) has an interesting note that "Most rabbis believed that the Spirit had ceased speaking through human prophets with the last of the OT prophets (Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi). Joel’s prophecy of an outpouring of the Spirit on all flesh was understood as referring to a new messianic age."

Ray Pritchard on pour out My Spirit - Let’s break that sentence down for a moment:

I—the sovereignty of God.

Will—the determination of God.

Pour Out—the generosity of God.

My Spirit—the personality of God.

This is one of the greatest statements in the Bible. This is how God ignites kingdom life in his people. He pours out his Spirit on them and they are never the same again. When God promises to “pour out” the Spirit, this is more than a trickle. It means that God plans to release the floodgates of heaven into the human heart. No man can do this on his own. I can preach for hours, but I cannot pour out God’s Spirit upon you. This is not the result of church membership or the organized aspects of local church life. This is God doing what only God can do. I think that’s part of what Donald Miller had in mind. We must individually go to God for this outpouring, and he must come to us with the power of his Spirit. Unless that happens, we will never be changed. And when that does happen, we will never be the same again. (I Will Pour Out My Spirit on All People)

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Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy and your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams - A number of commentators interpret these descriptions as representative of the different classes of people on whom the Spirit will be poured out. In other words, those who will receive the Spirit include male and female, young and old, those who are poor both men and women (bondslaves in Acts 2:18).  

Some like John MacArthur feel that "It is only in those days (ED: THE FUTURE MILLENNIAL KINGDOM) that such extensive prophesying will take place. The nature of the prophesying, dreams, and visions that will take place remains a mystery. Prophecy was exercised in the early church (cf. Acts 21:8-11) and continues in a non-revelatory sense throughout this age." (Ibid)

It is notable that the 120 disciples on whom the Spirit had been poured out did include men and women and in one sense they were prophesying because filled with the Spirit they were speaking forth the mighty deeds of God. (Acts 2:11)

G Campbell Morgan wrote "  In Joel's prophecy then we have a description of the whole dispensation   of   the  Spirit; its  commencement­ " I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh;" its char­acteristics" - Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions, and also  upon  the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour  out My Spirit"; its consummation-before the great day of the Lord come-" I will shew wonders in the heavens...The day of Pentecost dispensationally, is that whole period following, during which the true characteristics are those of prophecy, and  of dreams and visions. The Day of Pentecost finally, is  that period when, before the final acts begin,  supernatural signs will indicate the end of the period, and the approach of God's new and last method with the world. Where then are we placed now? The dawn has passed away. The  day  is  proceeding. The  darkness  has  not yet come. Dawn: " I will  pour forth of  My Spirit  upon all flesh." Day: " Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall  see  visions and your old men shall dream dreams, yea, and on My serv­ants and on My handmaidens in those days will I pour forth of  My Spirit; and they shall prophesy." Darkness: "The great and notable day...the sun turned into darkness, and the moon into blood." That has not yet come.      This prophetic teaching should make us cease speaking of the day of  Pentecost  as  though it  were passed. This is the day of Pentecost. The dawn has passed, but who regrets the dawn when the sun has climbed to, the heavens? Sometimes we think that  it is westering;  that the shadows are already about us. It  would  seem  that we are approaching the end of this dispensation of grace; but there is no sorrow in our heart, there is no regret. We do not believe that this dispensation is  the  last  ac­ tivity of God for the world. Our hope is also in the movements that lie beyond it; in the  fact  that  He  will gather Judah  to Jerusalem,  and   Israel  to  Himself (ED: "ALL ISRAEL WILL BE SAVED" Ro 11:26+),  and in other ways proceed to the accomplishment of  His purpose. The whole subject is not for consideration now, but what it  is  important  to  remember  is  that  this  very age in which we live  and  serve,  is  part  of  God's  plan, but not the whole of  it. It is an  integral  part  of  the whole. God has never been trying experiments with humanity. He has been moving surely,  certainly  on, and this age in which we live and serve is part of a larger whole. We need not sigh for  the  dawn; we  thank God for it, and the story of its breaking always  fascinates  us. We need not waste time looking for the ending of the age; for ere it come there will be supernatural signs that herald its approach. (Acts Commentary 2:14-21)

Prophesy (4395)(propheteuo from pró = before or forth + phemí = tell) means literally to tell forth and can mean to speak forth God's message, not necessarily referring to speaking of future events. In other contexts to prophesy means to speak under inspiration and foretell future events. Luke uses this verb 4 times in Acts - Acts 2:17, 18, Acts 19:6 and Acts 21:9. 

Acts 19:6   And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying.
Acts 21:9   Now this man had four virgin daughters who were prophetesses

Darrell Bock on visions and dreams - In both cases the point is that God will be accessible to and direct his people. Later in Acts, Paul will be led by a vision (Acts 16:9–10), and Cornelius and Peter each have a vision that sets up their meeting (Acts 9:10; 10:3, 10, 17; 18:9; Harrison 1975: 58).  (Ibid)

One caveat regarding prophecy, visions and dreams is that they each must be scrupulously, assiduously gauged according to the perfect standard of the Word of God (Pr 30:5). If they are not in accord with the Word of God or if they propose supposed "new" revelation, then they are false prophecies, visions and dreams. In short, a Berean-like attitude (Acts 17:11+) is imperative in assessing all prophecies, visions and dreams. 

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Visions (3706)(horasis from horao = to see) means that which is seen and means appearance in Rev 4:3+ and (supernatural) vision in Acts 2:17 and Rev 9:17+ (all the NT uses).

Horasis is used frequently in the Septuagint and is especially concentrated in the apocalyptic books of Ezekiel and Daniel where it often describes supernatural visions. Clearly God sometimes spoke to His prophets in the OT in visions (Isa 1:1, Da 7:1, 8:1, etc). So the question is this - Does God still give visions? Clearly God does not give visions today in the same sense as He did to the OT prophets who recorded the visions as the inspired Word of God (special revelation). So while the omnipotent God clearly can still give visions, He does not give visions to give new revelation. All visions must be compared to the Word of God and must be compatible with the Word of God. See the article from Gotquestions - Is God giving people in closed countries dreams and visions to bring them to faith in Christ?

Horasis is used about 134x in the Septuagint -  Ge 2:9; Ge 24:62; Gen. 25:11; Gen. 31:49; Gen. 40:5; Lev. 13:12; Num. 24:4; Num. 24:16; Jdg. 13:6; 1 Sam. 3:1; 1 Sam. 3:15; 1 Sam. 16:12; 2 Sam. 7:17; 1 Chr. 17:15; 1 Chr. 17:17; 2 Chr. 9:29; Job 37:18; Ps. 89:19; Eccl. 11:9; Isa. 1:1; Isa. 13:1; Isa. 19:1; Isa. 30:6; Isa. 66:24; Jer. 14:14; Jer. 23:16; Lam. 2:9; Ezek. 1:1; Ezek. 1:4; Ezek. 1:5; Ezek. 1:13; Ezek. 1:22; Ezek. 1:26; Ezek. 1:27; Ezek. 1:28; Ezek. 3:23; Ezek. 7:26; Ezek. 8:2; Ezek. 8:3; Ezek. 8:4; Ezek. 11:24; Ezek. 12:22; Ezek. 12:23; Ezek. 12:24; Ezek. 12:27; Ezek. 13:7; Ezek. 21:29; Ezek. 23:16; Ezek. 40:2; Ezek. 40:3; Ezek. 41:21; Ezek. 43:3; Ezek. 43:10; Dan. 1:17; Dan. 2:28; Dan. 2:31; Dan. 3:25; Dan. 4:5; Dan. 4:9; Dan. 4:10; Dan. 4:11; Dan. 4:19; Dan. 4:20; Dan. 4:23; Dan. 5:6; Dan. 7:1; Dan. 7:15; Dan. 7:20; Dan. 8:1; Dan. 8:13; Dan. 8:15; Dan. 8:16; Dan. 8:17; Dan. 8:19; Dan. 8:26; Dan. 8:27; Dan. 9:21; Dan. 9:24; Dan. 10:6; Dan. 10:7; Dan. 10:8; Dan. 10:14; Dan. 10:16; Dan. 10:18; Dan. 11:14; Hos. 12:10; Joel 2:4; Joel 2:28; Obad. 1:1; Mic. 3:6; Nah. 1:1; Nah. 2:4; Hab. 2:2; Hab. 2:3; Zech. 10:2; Zech. 13:4;

Dream (1797)(enupniazomai) means to receive an impression of seeing something during sleep (Acts 2:17) and in Jude 1:8 is associated with promoting deluding teachings as a result of false dreams. This verb is much more frequent in the Septuagint  - e.g., Jacob's ladder (Ge 28:12), Joseph's dream (Ge 37:5, 6, 9, 10). Warnings about dreamers in Dt 13:1, 3, 5 if they tell you to go after other gods (Dt 13:2). Nebuchadnezzar's famous dream (Da 2:1, 3+). 

Gilbrant - Enupniazō carries the connotation of supernatural activity while one is sleeping, especially in the sense of dreaming. Used only twice in the New Testament, the word is neutral concerning judgment regarding good or evil in the dreaming. Hence, in Acts 2:17 the word is used to describe dreaming activity of which God is the source. In Jude 8 the emphasis is upon the “dreamers” (participial form) who had crept in “unawares” (Jude 1:4) and who defile their bodies, defy their Creator, and deride the angels (cf. Jude 1:9)." (Complete Biblical Library

Enupniazomai - 20x in the Septuagint - Gen. 28:12; Gen. 37:5; Gen. 37:6; Gen. 37:9; Gen. 37:10; Gen. 41:5; Deut. 13:1; Deut. 13:3; Deut. 13:5; Jdg. 7:13 - Gideon; Isa. 29:7; Isa. 29:8; Isa. 56:10; Jer. 23:25; Jer. 27:9; Jer. 29:8; Da 2:1; Da 2:3; Joel 2:28 = "Your old men will dream dreams."

Dreams (1798)(enupnion) means something seen in one's sleep. This word is much more common in the Septuagint where it can refer to a common dream or a prophetic dream and is especially concentrated in the prophetic book of Daniel (24/107) and in Genesis (19/107).

Enupnion - 107x in the Septuagint - Gen. 37:5; Gen. 37:6; Gen. 37:8; Gen. 37:9; Gen. 37:10; Gen. 37:20; Gen. 40:5; Gen. 40:8; Gen. 40:9; Gen. 40:16; Gen. 41:1; Gen. 41:7; Gen. 41:8; Gen. 41:11; Gen. 41:15; Gen. 41:25; Gen. 41:26; Gen. 41:32; Gen. 42:9; Deut. 13:1; Deut. 13:3; Deut. 13:5; Jdg. 7:13; Jdg. 7:15; 1 Sam. 28:6; 1 Sam. 28:15; 1 Ki. 3:15; Est. 1:1; Est. 10:3; Job 7:14; Job 20:8; Job 33:14; Ps. 73:20; Eccl. 5:3; Eccl. 5:7; Isa. 29:8; Isa. 65:4; Jer. 23:25; Jer. 23:27; Jer. 23:28; Jer. 23:32; Jer. 29:8; Dan. 1:17; Dan. 2:1; Dan. 2:2; Dan. 2:3; Dan. 2:4; Dan. 2:5; Dan. 2:6; Dan. 2:7; Dan. 2:9; Dan. 2:26; Dan. 2:28; Dan. 2:36; Dan. 2:45; Dan. 4:5; Dan. 4:6; Dan. 4:7; Dan. 4:8; Dan. 4:9; Dan. 4:18; Dan. 4:19; Dan. 4:33; Dan. 5:12; Dan. 7:1; Dan. 8:2; Joel 2:28; Mic. 3:7; Zech. 10:2;

When C H Spurgeon was about 34 years old, he preached a sermon on Acts 2:17 entitled A Young Man's Vision and here are some excerpts showing what  Spurgeon thought of dreams and visions in our day, including a vision that he himself had -  

MANY visions have led to the most disastrous results. When Napoleon had a vision of a universal monarchy over which he should preside, with the French eagle for his ensign, he drenched the lands in blood. Many visions have been wretchedly delusive. Men have dreamed of finding the fairy pleasure in the dark forest of sin; carnal joys have danced before their eyes as temptingly as the mirage in the desert, and they have pursued the phantom forms to their misery in this world, and to their eternal ruin in the next. Mistaking license for liberty, and madness for mirth, they have dreamed themselves into hell! Many dreams have sucked the life-blood out of men as vampires do; men have passed from stern reality into dreamland, and while seemingly awake have continued like sleepwalkers to do all things in their sleep. Many pass all their days in one perpetual daydream—speculating, building castles in the air, thinking of what they would do, and vowing how they would behave themselves. With fine capacities they have driveled away existence, as their theory of life was born of smoke, so the result of their lives has been a cloud. The luxurious indolence of mere resolve, the useless tossing of regrets—these have been all their sluggard life. For all this, good and grand visions are not unknown; visions which came from the excellent glory; visions which, when young or old men have seen them, have filled them with wisdom, divine grace, and holiness; visions which have worked with such effect upon their minds that they have been lifted up above the level of the sons of men, and made sons of God, co-workers with the eternal! Such visions are given to men whose eyes have been illumined by the Holy Spirit—visions which have come of that eyesalve which only the Holy Spirit can apply; visions which are not bestowed on carnal men nor unveiled to the impure in heart; visions reserved for the men and women elect of God who are sanctified by the Holy Spirit, and made meet to be partakers of the witness of God, and the testimony of His Son.....How much of good in this world would have been lost if good men had quenched the first halffashioned thoughts which have flitted before them! I mean, for instance, had Martin Luther taken the advice of his teacher when he said to him, “Go your way, silly monk! Go to your cell and pray God, and if it is His will, He will reform the abuses of this church, but what have you to do with it?” Supposing the agitated monk had administered an opiate to his soul, what then? Doubtless the gospel to Luther at the first was dim enough; and the idea of reform most vague and indistinct; but had he closed his heart to his vision, how long might not the Romish darkness have brooded over the multitudes of Europe?....

O young men, if you have received a thought which dashes ahead of your times, hold to it, and work at it till it comes to something! If you have dreamed a dream from the Lord, turn it over and over again till you are quite sure it is not steam from a heated brain, or smoke from hell—and when it is clear to your own heart that it is fire from off God’s altar, then work and pray and wait your time. Perhaps it may take 50 years to work that thought out, or what is worse, you may never live to see it realized, but what of that? You may have to leave that thought sown in the dust, but the thought will not die; it may produce a harvest when you are with the angels! Do not, I pray you, because the thing happens to seem new, or too enthusiastic, or too far ahead, be snubbed into putting it into a corner, but take care of it, and nurture it; and if it is not of God, a little experience will disabuse you of it, let us hope. But if it is of the Lord, you will grow in your attachment to it, and by-and-by God will find an opportunity for you to make it practical. The great Father of Spirits does, in fact, say to you when He puts a great design into your keeping, as Pharaoh’s daughter said to Jochebed, “Take this child away, and nurse it for me, and I will give you your wages.” And though the Moses that you nurse may not deliver Israel in your lifetime, yet shall you have your wages if you nurse the thought for God!....

With this rather too long preface about dreaming, I will now confess that, after my own fashion, I too have seen a vision. And though you should say of me in days to come, “Behold, this dreamer comes,” yet, as he that has a dream is bid to tell his dream, so I tell mine. My dream is this—I have seen in vision, missionary spirit in England, now so given to slumber, marvelously quickened, awakened, and revived! I have seen—the wish was father to the sight, I have seen the ardor of our first missionary days return to us! I have seen young men eager for the mission field, and old men and fathers sitting in united council to correct mistakes, to devise new methods, or to strengthen the old ones, so that by any means the great chariot of Christ might roll onwards, and that His victories might be more rapid. (For full text see A Young Man's Vision)

G Campbell Morgan on prophesying, dreaming and seeing visions - What is a vision? Something seen by a watcher. What is a dream? Something seen by a sleeper. Visions are for the young men, who should be watching. Dreams are for the old men, who should be resting. The New Testament prophet is a witness in speech, and the prophets are to be men and women, bond and free. This Spirit came to scorch and burn and destroy the false divisions which existed; He came to recognize humanity, irrespective of caste or sex; sons and daughters, bondslaves and bondmaidens. What are the things we need to fear supremely? First, silence. If we cannot speak (not necessarily to a crowd) for our Master, wherever the opportunity is given, then we should be afraid. The Spirit was poured out to give us power to prophesy. Let us be very afraid of silence. We need also to fear if there is an absence of visions and dreams. If we have no dreams and no visions, why not? It is because we are not responsive to the Spirit. If we do not do this, it is not merely that we fail. We limit God; for the marvellous and matchless mystery of the Pentecostal age is this-that while the  Spirit  is  on all flesh, He waits for a partner, and the partner must be a man, a woman, a child. God bring us into fellowship that we may give His message and hasten the Kingdom. (Acts Commentary 2:14-21)

John Piper on "all God's people will prophesy" - 

Joel goes on to say that when God makes himself known and felt in people's lives, this can manifest itself in three ways: they may dream dreams, see visions, and prophesy (Joel 2:28). What a person dreams about is a sign of what his mind is saturated with. What looms up in his mind's eye while strolling alone signals whether he is soaked in God. And you can usually tell whether a person has been drenched with the Spirit by whether his mouth is given to declaring the excellencies of God. When God almighty pours himself into an individual, the inner life is changed; it is filled with God. And since the mouth is simply the pressure valve of the inner life, when the inner life is full of God, the mouth prophesies.

We must not think of prophecy mainly as prediction, though it is true that those who are closest to God will know best what he is likely to do next. Nor should we think of it as the fulfillment of a special office. Prophecy, as it is used here I think, is primarily verbalizing the great things you have seen of God for the sake of "upbuilding and encouragement and consolation," as Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:3. Joel is not trying to get us excited that we will all one day be able to know the future before it happens (there is nothing especially holy about that). He is looking to a day when men and women everywhere will be so filled with God that they catch visions of him in the daytime, dream about him at night, and speak of him continually with their mouths. The best evidence for this is that when in fact the Spirit was poured out like this at Pentecost, the result was that those filled with the Spirit "spoke the mighty works of God" (Acts 2:11). The miracle of "tongues" enabled all to understand, but the important thing is what they said. Tongues is just one variety of prophetic speech. This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: your sons and daughters will prophesy.

Joel wasn't the only Old Testament prophet who longed for the day when God would saturate his people with his Spirit. There is a story about Moses in Numbers 11:24–30, similar to Joel's prophecy. Moses had the Spirit of the Lord on him in such a way that he could see God and speak his word powerfully. It says that one day "the Lord came down in the cloud and spoke to him, and took some of the Spirit that was upon him and put it upon the 70 elders; and when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied" (Nu 11:25). And word came to them that there were two men in the city who had not come out to the tent but were prophesying by the Spirit also. Joshua said to Moses "'My lord Moses, forbid them.' But Moses said to him, 'Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord's people were prophets, that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them!"' (Nu 11:29). That is the day Joel is predicting—the day when all God's people will prophesy. Would that all the Lord's people were prophets! Would that all the people at Bethlehem were prophets! So saturated and soaked with God, so filled with God in the inner life that we would constantly speak to each other of the excellencies of our Maker and Redeemer and Friend.

And do not think this is beyond your reach. Do not think that such an experience of God is for the professional spiritual elite. The point of Joel's prophecy is this: the Spirit will be poured on all flesh—whether you are man or woman, old or young, servant or master, the promise is for you. Baptists have always insisted on the priesthood of all believers. But should we not also say, Would that all God's people were prophets! Would that all God's people were so filled with God that our love and admiration could not but spill over into words. Would that every Wednesday night and every Sunday night we might come together so deeply moved by the Spirit that we would fall over each other to testify in prophetic words of edifying praise to what we have seen of God.

What is it that hinders us? What is it in our tradition that has locked us into ourselves and imprisoned us in solitary cells of silence? Why, why in the name of Pentecost are we so reticent to speak of God when opportunity is given the church and beyond? I don't know why. But this I know: it is not the Spirit; it is not the Spirit of God that seals your lips and makes you think that praise and exhortation is a private affair. "Do not quench the Spirit, do not despise prophesying; test everything, hold to what is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:19–21). God declares, "I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy!" (Acts 2:17 This Is What Was Spoken By the Prophet Joel)

Cornerstone Biblical Commentary -  The outpouring is for prophesying, for receiving dreams and visions. Visions and dreams were common experiences by which a prophet would receive revelation (Num 12:6). In Acts they occur regularly, especially in promoting the advance of the Christian mission (e.g., Acts 9:10, 12; 10:3, 17, 19; 11:5; 16:9; 18:9). While some would limit early Christian prophecy to "episodic, oracular utterances that are spoken on the basis of supernaturally given revelation via dreams, visions, and angelic visitors," others see prophecy in Acts as occurring across a continuum of varying degrees of divine intervention (Giles 1997b:971). Indeed, the "prophesying" of Joel 2:28 is fulfilled at Pentecost in "witnessing with power" (Acts 1:8) and in being "filled with the Holy Spirit" to declare miraculously in foreign languages the "wonderful things God has done" (Acts 2:4, 11). Throughout Acts, we meet this same range of Spirit-aided proclamation: from oracular prediction or assurance (Acts 11:28; 18:9-10; 21:11; 23:11) to special revelation passed on later (Acts 10:30-33), episodic immediate inspiration (Acts 4:18-31; 13:9; 21:11), speaking in tongues (Acts 2:4; 10:46; 19:6), words of exhortation and encouragement (Acts 14:22; 15:32, 41), and boldly preached expository sermons with Spirit-given interpretation and application of Scripture (Acts 4:8-12; 7:2-52; 13:16-41). By the power of the Spirit, God's witnesses will make known his wondrous deeds: how he has accomplished and now intends to apply his salvation. (Cornerstone Biblical Commentary – Volume 12: Luke and Acts)

MacArthur - The complete fulfillment of Joel's prophecy awaits the coming of the millennial kingdom. On the Day of Pentecost, and indeed throughout the church age, God has given both a preview and a sample of the power the Spirit will release in the kingdom. Believers in the present age have a foretaste of kingdom life. In the millennial kingdom, God will pour forth of [His] Spirit upon all mankind, since all who enter the kingdom will be redeemed. (See Mt. 24:29-25:46 for the evidence that only redeemed people will enter the Millennium.) During the church age, God pours His Spirit into believers (cf. Ro 5:5+ Titus 3:5-6+ = " the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior,"). In the kingdom there will be perfect peace (Isa. 9:7); peace rules now in the hearts of believers. In the kingdom, Christ will reign (Luke 1:33); He reigns now in the hearts of His people. In the kingdom, Christ will judge all men (Acts 17:31; 2 Tim. 4:1); now He judges His people through the Spirit's convicting ministry in their lives. What will ultimately come to full fruition in the kingdom began to be seen at Pentecost. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Acts)

Wiersbe - Peter did not say that Pentecost was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel 2:28-32, because the signs and wonders predicted (Acts 2:19, 20) had not occurred. When you read Joel's prophecy in context, you see that it deals with the nation of Israel in the end times, in connection with "the Day of the Lord." However, Peter was led by the Spirit to see in the prophecy an application to the Church. He said, "This is that same Holy Spirit that Joel wrote about. He is here!" Such an announcement would seem incredible to the Jews, because they thought God's Spirit was given only to a few select people (see Nu 11:28-29). But here were 120 of their fellow Jews, men and women, enjoying the blessing of the same Holy Spirit that had empowered Moses, David, and the prophets. (Bible Exposition Commentary )

William MacDonald offers a literal interpretation of Acts 2:17-18 (which which I basically agree)- The quotation from Joel is an example of the Law of Double Reference, by which a Bible prophecy has a partial fulfillment at one time and a complete fulfillment at a later time. The Spirit of God was poured out at Pentecost but not literally on all flesh. The final fulfillment of the prophecy will take place at the end of the Tribulation Period. Prior to the glorious return of Christ, there will be wonders in the heavens, and signs on the earth (Matt. 24:29, 30). The Lord Jesus Christ will then appear on the earth to put down His enemies and to establish His kingdom. At the beginning of His thousand-year reign, the Spirit of God will be poured out on all flesh, Gentiles as well as Jews, and this condition will prevail, for the most part, throughout the Millennium. Various manifestations of the Spirit will be given without regard to sex, age, or social status. There will be visions and dreams, which suggest the reception of knowledge; and prophecy, which suggests its impartation to others. Thus, the gifts of revelation and communication will be in evidence. All this will occur in what Joel described as the last days (Acts 2:17). This, of course, refers to the last days of Israel and not of the church. (Borrow Believer's Bible Commentary)

H A Ironside - There is a great deal in the prophecy (FROM JOEL 2:28-32) which yet remains to be fulfilled, but Peter is saying that that same Spirit which was working on Pentecost that day is the Spirit which by and by will be poured out upon all flesh. Joel says, "It shall come to pass in the last days I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh." Notice the universality of this. This is something for the whole world in that glorious millennial day, and today this coming of the Holy Ghost, this Pentecostal blessing, is for the whole world. I wonder sometimes at those who tell us that God endued only Israel with such power. He was contemplating the untold millions of Gentiles— those already born and those to be born down through the centuries— when the Spirit of God had come with the message for all of them. "I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams." The coming of the Spirit of God takes hold of a man or woman and gives them an illumination they would not ordinarily have; He opens up to them the Old Testament and reveals the things to come and gives them an understanding of the work of our Lord Jesus Christ and its effects upon human sin and human needs. (H. A. Ironside Commentary – Acts)

Gotquestions - Does God still give visions to people today?

Question: "Does God still give visions to people today? Should believers expect visions to be a part of their Christian experience?"
Answer: Can God give visions to people today? Yes! Does God give visions to people today? Possibly. Should we expect visions to be an ordinary occurrence? No. As recorded in the Bible, God spoke to people many times by means of visions. Examples are Joseph, son of Jacob; Joseph, the husband of Mary; Solomon; Isaiah; Ezekiel; Daniel; Peter; and Paul. The prophet Joel predicted an outpouring of visions, and this was confirmed by the apostle Peter in Acts chapter 2. It is important to note that the difference between a vision and a dream is that a vision is given when a person is awake while a dream is given when a person is asleep. In many parts of the world, God seems to be using visions and dreams extensively. In areas where there is little or no gospel message available, and where people do not have Bibles, God is taking His message to people directly through dreams and visions. This is entirely consistent with the biblical example of visions being frequently used by God to reveal His truth to people in the early days of Christianity. If God desires to communicate His message to a person, He can use whatever means He finds necessary—a missionary, an angel, a vision, or a dream. Of course, God also has the ability to give visions in areas where the gospel message is already readily available. There is no limit to what God can do. At the same time, we must be careful when it comes to visions and the interpretation of visions. We must keep in mind that the Bible is finished, and it tells us everything we need to know. The key truth is that if God were to give a vision, it would agree completely with what He has already revealed in His Word.

Visions should never be given equal or greater authority than the Word of God. God’s Word is our ultimate authority for Christian faith and practice. If you believe you have had a vision and feel that perhaps God gave it to you, prayerfully examine the Word of God and make sure your vision is in agreement with Scripture. Then prayerfully consider what God would have you do in response to the vision (James 1:5). God would not give a vision to a person and then keep the meaning of the vision hidden. In Scripture, whenever a person asked God for the meaning of a vision, God made sure it was explained to the person (Daniel 8:15-17).

Related Resources:


KJV Acts 2:18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

  • Even on My bondslaves -  1 Cor 7:21,22; Gal 3:28; Col 3:11
  • And they shall prophesy  Acts 2:17
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Even on My bondslaves both men and women - This does not seem to speak of the traditional servile nature of these individuals because they are referred to as God's bondslaves, which indicates they belong to Him by the new birth. In other words they are believers who belong to the Lord for as Paul said describing believers "you are not your have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body." (1 Cor 6:19, 20+) In context how can we glorify God? By prophesying of "the mighty deeds of God.” (Acts 2:11+). 

Bondslaves (1401)(doulos) describes an individual bound to another in servitude and conveys the idea of the slave's close, binding ties with his master, belonging to him, obligated to and desiring to do his will and in a permanent relation of servitude - e.g., "Mary...the bondslave of the Lord" (Lk 1:38, 48, cf the disciples in Acts 4:29) . In sum, the will of the doulos is consumed in the will of the master. This word provides an incredible word picture of those who bound to their Lord Jesus Christ, Who had bought them with a price to be His own possession (cf Acts 20:28+, Gal 3:13+, Heb 9:12+, 1Pe 1:18+, Re 5:9+, Titus 2:14+, 1Pe 2:9+). All uses of doulos in Luke and Acts - Lk. 1:38; Lk. 1:48; Lk. 2:29; Lk. 7:2; Lk. 7:3; Lk. 7:8; Lk. 7:10; Lk. 12:37; Lk. 12:43; Lk. 12:45; Lk. 12:46; Lk. 12:47; Lk. 14:17; Lk. 14:21; Lk. 14:22; Lk. 14:23; Lk. 15:22; Lk. 17:7; Lk. 17:9; Lk. 17:10; Lk. 19:13; Lk. 19:15; Lk. 19:17; Lk. 19:22; Lk. 20:10; Lk. 20:11; Lk. 22:50;  Acts 2:18; Acts 4:29; Acts 16:17.

I will in those days pour forth of My Spirit - In Acts 2:17 the Spirit was poured forth on all mankind and here on God's bondslaves. This supports the interpretation that those on whom the Spirit is poured out in Acts 2:17 are believers. 

John Phillips points out that "Twice He said, "I will pour out." The first time, the expression evidently embraces the Hebrew world-"your sons, your daughters, your young men,your old men." The second time, the expression doubtless includes the heathen world, the great Gentile world so long passed by in favor of the Jewish people-"my servants, and my handmaidens." God's interests in this world have ever been wider than the narrow confines of Canaan. The evidence of a worldwide dispersal of Jewish people should have taught the Hebrews that." (Exploring Acts)

And they shall prophesy - Joel's original prophecy reads "Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days." (Joel 2:29) Note that the phrase they shall prophesy was not in Joel's prophecy. Why? The simple answer is that Peter under the inspiration of the Spirit repeats the statement from Acts 2:17 (shall prophesy) for emphasis. This recalls the words of Moses in Numbers 11:29. 


KJV Acts 2:19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:

  • Joel 2:30,31; Zephaniah 1:14-18; Malachi 4:1-6
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


And I will grant wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth below - Joel's original words were "I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth." Here Peter adds "signs" to Joel's prophecy. 

There are some like I Howard Marshall (TNTC-Acts) who interpret this signs as "probably the gift of tongues and the various healing miracles which are shortly to be recorded." That interpretation is highly unlikely because it yanks "signs on the earth below" out of a context which is clearly referring to the "last" of the last days, that period immediately preceding the return of Christ, which is referred to as the "Tribulation," the seven year period that is terminated by the return of Christ, putting an end to the last days.  (Borrow The Acts of the Apostles : an introduction and commentary)

John Phillips - It is evident from this reference to the "Day of the Lord" that Pentecost was only a partial fulfillment of Joel's prophecy. There were signs of God's wrath at Calvary-the sun was darkened, the earth shook, the rocks were rent. But, as the Lord made clear in His Olivet discourse, such signs as Joel indicated belong to the time of the second coming of Christ (Mt 24:29-30). (Exploring Acts)

Wonders (5059)(see teras) translates a Greek word from which the word terror comes, an emotion which will be most appropriate when God begins to grant these cosmic changes (cf Rev 11:11+, Rev 18:10, 15+). All uses of teras in Acts - Acts 2:19; Acts 2:22; Acts 2:43; Acts 4:30; Acts 5:12; Acts 6:8; Acts 7:36; Acts 14:3; Acts 15:12. 

Signs (4592) (see semeion) is something that points to something else, in this context the signs point to the coming judgment of God (cf Rev 12:1, 3+, Rev 15:1+) and also serve as a harbinger of the imminent Second Coming of Christ (cf Mt 24:30+). All uses of semeion in Luke and Acts - Lk. 2:12; Lk. 2:34; Lk. 11:16; Lk. 11:29; Lk. 11:30; Lk. 21:7; Lk. 21:11; Lk. 21:25; Lk. 23:8; Acts 2:19; Acts 2:22; Acts 2:43; Acts 4:16; Acts 4:22; Acts 4:30; Acts 5:12; Acts 6:8; Acts 7:36; Acts 8:6; Acts 8:13; Acts 14:3; Acts 15:12.

It is interesting that Jesus the Nazarene was a Man attested to the Jews by wonders and signs. Here is the point! If one refuses to heed the wonders and signs of God's Messiah, by default one must experience the wonders and signs of God's Wrath!

Blood, and fire and vapor of smoke  - Here Peter describes the wonders and signs. These wonders and signs have not yet taken place. So when and where will they take place? The Book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ describes a number of events that are associated with blood, fire and smoke. Therefore the most logical conclusion is that Peter is describing the events that will be associated with the Day of the Lord during the Seven Year Tribulation that is terminated by the Lord's return (cf Mt 24:22+). 

Revelation describes signs on the earth...

Blood is described in Revelation (see also association with fire below)

Rev 6:8+ I looked, and behold, an ashen horse; and he who sat on it had the name Death; and Hades was following with him. Authority was given to them over a fourth of the earth, to kill with sword and with famine and with pestilence and by the wild beasts of the earth. (~bloodshed)

Rev 6:12+ I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood;

Rev 8:7-8+ The first (TRUMPET) sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.  8 The second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood,

Rev 9:15+ And the four angels, who had been prepared for the hour and day and month and year, were released, so that they would kill a third of mankind. (~bloodshed)

Revelation 11:6+ These have the power to shut up the sky, so that rain will not fall during the days of their prophesying; and they have power over the waters to turn them into blood, and to strike the earth with every plague, as often as they desire. 

Rev 14:20+  And the wine press was trodden outside the city, and blood came out from the wine press, up to the horses’ bridles, for a distance of two hundred miles.

Rev 16:3-6+ The second angel poured out his bowl into the sea, and it became blood like that of a dead man; and every living thing in the sea died.  4 Then the third angel poured out his bowl into the rivers and the springs of waters; and they became blood. 5 And I heard the angel of the waters saying, “Righteous are You, who are and who were, O Holy One, because You judged these things; 6 for they poured out the blood of saints and prophets, and You have given them blood to drink. They deserve it.”

Fire in Revelation

Rev 8:7-10+  The first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up.  8 The second angel sounded, and something like a great mountain burning with fire was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood, 9 and a third of the creatures which were in the sea and had life, died; and a third of the ships were destroyed.  10 The third angel sounded, and a great star fell from heaven, burning like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the springs of waters.

Rev 9:17-18+ And this is how I saw in the vision the horses and those who sat on them: the riders had breastplates the color of fire and of hyacinth and of brimstone; and the heads of the horses are like the heads of lions; and out of their mouths proceed fire and smoke and brimstone. 18 A third of mankind was killed by these three plagues, by the fire and the smoke and the brimstone which proceeded out of their mouths.

Smoke in Revelation

Rev 9:1-3+ Then the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star from heaven which had fallen to the earth; and the key of the bottomless pit was given to him. 2 He opened the bottomless pit, and smoke went up out of the pit, like the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by the smoke of the pit. 3 Then out of the smoke came locusts upon the earth, and power was given them, as the scorpions of the earth have power.

Rev 18:9+  "And the kings of the earth, who committed acts of immorality and lived sensuously with her  (BABYLON), will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke of her burning,

S Lewis Johnson on whether wonders...signs have been fulfilled in Peter's day - We do not have any indication from the text of the Book of Acts, that these things did take place at that time. Now, if we understand them figuratively, we have a slight problem, since Peter, later in his second letter in the third chapter, refers to much the same kind of thing, and there locates the fulfillment in the future, associated with the second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ. And, furthermore, in Revelation 6:12, almost the precise wording is referred there to the second advent of our Lord. So I cannot really subscribe to this interpretation; that is, that everything on the Day of Pentecost — that happened there — fulfilled everything in Joel’s prophecy. (This is That)

Cole - Peter did not know how soon these judgments would take place (since Joel does not indicate such). He was not claiming that they had been fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost; rather, he is saying that these things would precede “the great and glorious day of the Lord.” Since the prophecy had begun to be fulfilled, as evidenced by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, it is reasonable to assume that the rest will come to pass in due time....Revelation 6:12+ predicts these same signs when the Lamb breaks the sixth seal during the Great Tribulation. Thus the literal fulfillment still awaits that time just prior to the return of Christ when He will judge the whole world.


KJV Acts 2:20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:

  • The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon into blood - Isa 13:9,15; 24:23; Jer 4:23; Amos 8:9; Mt 24:29; 27:45; Mark 13:24; Luke 21:25; 2 Peter 3:7,10; Rev 6:12; 16:8
  • Before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come -  Isa 2:12-21; 34:8; Joel 2:1; 3:14; Zeph 2:2,3; Mal 4:5; 1 Cor 5:5; 1 Th 5:2; 2 Pe 3:10
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon into blood  - Some commentators see this as an allusion to the darkness falling from 12-3 PM on the day of Jesus' crucifixion (Mt 27:45, Lk 23:44, 45), but that simply does not make sense as this description is of a future event not a past event (will be turned = future tense). Furthermore, there is not a Gospel passage that even remotely describes the turning of the moon into blood

ESV Study Bible (borrow) comments that "The darkened sun and bloody moon, whether literal or symbolic, indicate the final consummation of the earth. Peter included the full prophecy (ED: Of Joel 2:28-32) even though not all of it was yet fulfilled." 

Does the moon literally become blood? If we compare Scripture with Scripture, this is almost certainly a metaphorical description for John writes "I looked when He broke the sixth seal, and there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth made of hair, and the whole moon became like blood" (Rev 6:12+ = "the whole moon became like blood;")

As Darrell Bock says "At the end of his speech, Peter will use the coming of judgment as an appeal for the people to repent and thereby experience the blessings of the new era. People must remember that they are accountable to the living God, and so an appeal to judgment is an appeal to reality as Peter sees it." (Baker Exegetical Commentary - Acts).

Jesus also predicted cosmic upheavals in the last of the last days preceding His glorious return...

Mt 24:29-30+ “But immediately after the tribulation of those days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. 30+ “And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory.

Before the great and glorious day of the Lord shall come  (See diagram above) - The Day of the Lord is the last seven year period, the Tribulation, which precedes the return of the Messiah and which terminates the Last Days. As we have said, the Last Days beginning with Jesus' first coming and end at His Second Coming

Reginald Showers gives an excellent descriptive definition of the Day of the Lord - The Day of the Lord refers to God’s special interventions into the course of world events to judge His enemies, accomplish His purpose for history, and thereby demonstrate Who He is—the sovereign God of the universe. (Borrow Maranatha, Our Lord Come: a definitive study of the rapture of the church - excellent)

Cornerstone Biblical Commentary - God's work "in the Last Days" also includes heavenly wonders and earthly signs. These are the conditions right before the conclusion of human history, which comes with the arrival of the "great and glorious Day of the Lord." Signs on earth, particularly scenes of bloodshed and destruction, will mark the unsettling and ever accelerating fraying of the national and international social fabric. Wonders in the heavens also will be unsettling: an eclipsed sun (Joel 3:15; Amos 5:18-20; Zeph 1:15; Luke 21:25-26) and a blood red moon, possibly the result of earthquakes (cf Rev 6:12+). The natural order's being out of joint will not only mirror the world's moral order, so long out of joint at the hands of sinful humankind, it will also presage the inevitable end: divine judgment in the Day of the Lord (Isa 13:6, 9; Ezek 30:3; Zeph 1:14-15). The significance of this Pentecost event, then, is its decisive inauguration of the last days, which offers the promise of salvation blessings now (Acts 2:21) and will conclude with the Judgment Day of the Lord. For now there is hope; there is still time. The Lord promises that anyone who calls on His Name will be saved by him (note the divine passive; cf. Acts 2:36-40, 47; 4:12; 16:30-31).  (Cornerstone Biblical Commentary – Volume 12: Luke and Acts)

Related Resource:


KJV Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

  • And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved - Acts 9:11,15; 22:16; Ps 86:5; Joel 2:32; Mt 28:19; Ro 10:12,13; 1 Cor 1:2; Heb 4:16
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Peter's invitation from God is in one sense an answer to the prophet Habakkuk's prayer uttered some 600 years earlier when he prayed "In wrath remember mercy."  (Hab 3:2+) Peter had just spoken of coming days of God's great wrath at the end of this age, but now he follows with a gracious offer of God's mercy to provide a way to escape His wrath. Perhaps it was passages such as this which prompted Peter to write (inspired of course by the Spirit) "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance." (2 Peter 3:9+)

And it shall be that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved - Every human ever born in Adam is born with the "sin virus" (Ro 5:12+, cf Ro 3:23+) and deserves the just judgment of God which is eternal punishment in hell! Ouch! The truth hurts! But praise God for passages like Acts 2:21 which provides a means of escape. In a word, whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.

Joel 2:32+  “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD Will be delivered; For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem There will be those who escape, As the LORD has said, Even among the survivors whom the LORD calls.

Comment - This has to be one of the greatest promises in all of Scripture! All of us who have been delivered from the wrath to come (1 Th 1:10+) by grace through faith, have experienced Jehovah's supernatural salvation on the day we called on the Name of the LORD Jesus Christ, our Deliverer. And here in Joel 2:32 a Jewish prophet is speaking to Jewish hearers and telling them that they too can be delivered from the wrath of the Day of the LORD by their Strong Deliverer. And in fact 1/3 of the nation of Israel will respond and call on Messiah's Name (see Zech 12:10-14+, Zech 13:1+, Zech 13:8-9+ and compare with Ro 11:26-27+)

Romans 10:12; 13  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.” 

Spurgeon on Acts 2:21 - What a blessed door of hope is this! What a window, letting the light of heaven shine into the darkest despondency! Whosoever shall address himself to God by repentance, by faith, by prayer, shall be saved.

Calls on (1941)(epikaleomai   = middle voice of epikaleo from epí = upon + kaléo = call) literally means to call upon and was often used in secular Greek to refer to calling upon deity for any purpose, especially for aid. Robertson adds it means "to call to, middle voice for oneself in need" (ED: What greater "need" than salvation!)  W E Vine adds that epikaleomai "has the meaning appeal (earnest or urgent request) in the middle voice, which carries with it the suggestion of a special interest on the part of the doer of an action in that in which he is engaged."  (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

MacDonald - The Name of the LORD is an expression that includes all that the Lord is. Thus, to call on His name is to call on Himself as the true object of faith and as the only way of salvation. (Borrow Believer's Bible Commentary)

Bob Utley's Topic - The Name of the Lord (in the NT).

It is worth noting that in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus describes individuals who appeal to His Name, and yet they clearly are not saved. You cannot just use His Name, but you must call on His Name, receiving and believing that His Name conveys all that He is - Savior, Redeemer, Lord, etc...

"Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your Name, and in Your Name cast out demons, and in Your Name perform many miracles?' “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never (at any time) knew you; DEPART (command) FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ (Mt 7:22+

H A Ironside - And so the Spirit of God has come, the Comforter is here and the saints of God have received the Spirit and have thus been baptized into one Body and in the power of the Spirit are called upon to go forth and proclaim the gospel message to the ends of the earth. Have you called on the name of the Lord? Have you trusted Christ as your own Saviour? (Acts 2 Commentary)

Spurgeon - “Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved, for there will be an escape for those on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, as the Lord promised, among the survivors the Lord calls.” In the worst times that can ever happen, there is still salvation for people. When day turns to night and life becomes death, when the staff of life is broken and the hope of all has fled, there still remains in God, in the person of his dear Son, deliverance to all those who will call on the name of the Lord. We must call on the true God, not on an idol or an image or an impression of our minds. We must call on the living God—call on him who reveals himself in the Bible—call on him who reveals himself in the person of his dear Son. For whosoever will call on this God will be saved. This way of salvation—calling on the name of the Lord—glorifies God. He asks nothing of us but that we ask everything of him. We are the beggars and he is the benefactor. We are in trouble and he is our deliverer. All we have to do is trust him and beg of him. This is easy enough. This puts the matter into the hands of the Lord and takes it out of our hands.

Will be saved (4982)(sozo) has the basic meaning of rescuing one from great peril, in this context God's great wrath! Additional nuances include to protect, keep alive, preserve, deliver, heal, be made whole. Sozo is sometimes used of physical deliverance from danger of perishing (see Mt 8:25; Mt 14:30; Lk 23:35; Acts 27:20, 27:31), physical healing from sickness (Mt 9:21, 22; Mk 5:23, Acts 4:9), and deliverance from demonic possession (Lk 8:36). Most often sozo is used as in the present passage to refer to salvation in a spiritual sense. Matthew recorded the angel's conversation with Joseph regarding his betrothed, Mary, declaring "She (Mary) will bear a Son; and you shall call His Name Jesus, for it is He who will save (sozo) His people from their sins." (Mt 1:21) In Mt 1:21 sozo is equated with deliverance from sins (guilt and power of) with Jesus' Name being a transliteration of Joshua meaning "Jehovah is salvation".

Luke's uses of sozo - Lk. 6:9; Lk. 7:50; Lk. 8:12; Lk. 8:36; Lk. 8:48; Lk. 8:50; Lk. 9:24; Lk. 9:56; Lk. 13:23; Lk. 17:19; Lk. 18:26; Lk. 18:42; Lk. 19:10; Lk. 23:35; Lk. 23:37; Lk. 23:39; Acts 2:21; Acts 2:40; Acts 2:47; Acts 4:9; Acts 4:12; Acts 11:14; Acts 14:9; Acts 15:1; Acts 15:11; Acts 16:30; Acts 16:31; Acts 27:20; Acts 27:31

Call for Help

Read: Acts 2:14–21

Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. Acts 2:21

After five deaths and fifty-one injuries in elevator accidents in 2016, New York City launched an ad campaign to educate people on how to stay calm and be safe. The worst cases were people who tried to save themselves when something went wrong. The best plan of action, authorities say, is simply, “Ring, relax, and wait.” New York building authorities made a commitment to respond promptly to protect people from injury and extract them from their predicament.

In the book of Acts, Peter preached a sermon that addressed the error of trying to save ourselves. Luke, who wrote the book, records some remarkable events in which believers in Christ were speaking in languages they did not know (Acts 2:1–12). Peter got up to explain to his Jewish brothers and sisters that what they were witnessing was the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy (Joel 2:28–32)—the outpouring of the Spirit and a day of salvation. The blessing of the Holy Spirit was now visibly seen in those who called on Jesus for rescue from sin and its effects. Then Peter told them how this salvation is available for anyone (v. 21). Our access to God comes not through keeping the Law but through trusting Jesus as Lord and Messiah.           

If we are trapped in sin, we cannot save ourselves. Our only hope for being rescued is acknowledging and trusting Jesus as Lord and Messiah.

Have you called on Jesus to rescue you from your sin?

Rescue comes to those who call on Jesus for help.

By Marvin Williams (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Acts 2:22   "Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know--

KJV  Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know:

NLT "People of Israel, listen! God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene by doing powerful miracles, wonders, and signs through him, as you well know.

  • Men of Israel, listen to these words -  Acts 3:12; 5:35; 13:16; 21:28; Isa 41:14
  • Jesus the Nazarene Acts 4:10; 6:14; 22:8; 24:5; 26:9; Mt 2:23; John 1:45; 19:19
  • A Man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs  Acts 10:37; 26:26; Mt 11:2-6; Luke 7:20-23; 24:18; John 3:2; 5:36; 6:14,27; John 7:31; 10:37; 11:47; 12:17; 14:10,11; 15:24; He 2:4
  • which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know Acts 14:27; Mt 9:8; 12:28; Luke 11:20; John 5:17-20; 9:33; 11:40-42; 14:10,11
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


This is Peter's defense of the Gospel which he later wrote about in 1 Peter 3:15+. The Jews had asked him a question "What is this?" And he was ready to make a defense, for he was filled with the Spirit and filled with the Word as he proceeds to repeatedly quote from the Old Testament.

Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense (apologia) to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.

Comment - Apologia was a technical word in law courts speaking of verbal defense presented by a lawyer who defends his client. In a sense Jesus is Peter's "Client" and he presents his defense to the Jewish audience. 

Men of Israel, listen to these words - As in Acts 2:14 ("give heed to my words") Peter directly addressed the audience as Men of Judea and now gives them another command to listen (both in the aorist imperative = calls for immediate attention! This is urgent! Do this now!). Peter is making a transition to his main subject, Jesus. Notice Peter's appeal is to the Jews in keeping with Paul's statement that the Gospel "is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." (Ro 1:16+). This also fulfills Jesus' words in Acts 1:8+ that "you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem." So Peter's witness empowered by the Spirit begins in Jerusalem. Peter should have spoken "Ichabod" (The Glory has Departed) over these Jews, but instead he speaks words filled with grace. Don't miss the incredible grace God displays by having Peter preach the Gospel first to the very ones who crucified Jesus! Amazing grace indeed!

NET Note on men (aner) - The Greek term here is aner, which only exceptionally is used in a generic sense of both males and females. In this context, it is conceivable that this is a generic usage, although it can also be argued that Peter's remarks were addressed primarily to the men present, even if women were there.

Jesus the Nazarene - This is the Name by which our Lord was commonly known during His earthly ministry (Mt. 21:11; Mk 10:47; 14:67; 16:6; Lk 24:19; Jn 18:5, 7). Peter has just described wonders and signs of God's coming wrath and immediately offers his Jewish crowd the only way of escape (cf Heb 2:3) by calling on the Name of the Lord. And then without hesitation, Peter proceeds to elaborate on the Name of the Lord on Whom they must call! That Name is "Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins" (Mt 1:21), "and there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other Name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12+)

While the book of Acts is certainly a record of the Acts of Holy Spirit, the major "act" of the Spirit is to glorify Jesus and so it is fitting that in this sermon Peter does not attempt to explain "tongues" or the actions of the Holy Spirit, but to exalt the Name of Jesus the Nazarene. And this is clearly the pattern for all sermons of all ages, for Jesus is the pinnacle of prophecy (speaking forth), past, present and future. The paradox is that the exalted Name Jesus the Nazarene (Jesus of Nazareth) was the name of a Galilean city that was looked down upon by the more "sophisticated, cosmopolitan" Jews, so that anyone from that village would also be viewed with contempt. 

This Name Jesus the Nazarene is the name the Jews used to mock and deride Jesus, because they all believed that nothing good came out of Nazareth and certainly not a prophet. Even Nathanael asked his brother Philip "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?"" (Jn 1:46) In John 7:52 the Jews said "Search, and see that no prophet arises out of Galilee (where Nazareth was located)." In Jn 19:19 "Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” Undoubtedly some in Peter's audience had witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus and would have seen this Name on the sign over His head. So it is no accident that Peter chose this Name of Jesus to open his remarks. Some might say that in using the Jews' own derogatory name of Jesus to begin this message, Peter was being somewhat sarcastic (or as a mild rebuke). What is fascinating is that every time Peter mentions Jesus in the rest of Acts, he calls Him Jesus the Nazarene (Acts 3:6, Acts 4:10, Acts 10:38 = "Jesus of Nazareth"). Note that in the next two uses by Peter (Acts 3:6, 4:10), he adds the name "Christ," which would be the equivalent of Messiah. When Saul was on the road to Damascus to persecute Christians, he was confronted by Jesus and when he asked "Who art Thou Lord?," Jesus' reply was "I am Jesus the Nazarene Whom you are persecuting." (Acts 22:8, cf Paul's testimony in Acts 26:9). In Acts 24:5 the followers of Jesus were called "the sect of the Nazarenes" among whom Paul was the "ringleader." John MacArthur writes that Jesus the Nazarene reflects our Lord's "wonderful condescension in leaving the glory of heaven to live in a humble Galilean village." And even after being exalted to the right hand of God, Jesus continued to describe Himself by this Name to Saul (Acts 22:8)! Amazing humility! 

Now, back to Peter's opening words Jesus the Nazarene which prompts MacArthur to ask "Can you imagine they were tearing their clothes hearing that. Jesus of Nazareth our Messiah. It was an open rebuke to the Jews, because it was their mocking Name for Him." And recall that some 50 days earlier Peter had denied this Name, but now boldly proclaims it even to some who had previously shouted "Crucify Him!" This is what happens to a man when he is filled with and empowered by the Holy Spirit!

Steven Cole - While many in our day deny that miracles can occur, they are basing their denials on the assumption that God does not exist, contrary to much evidence in creation. In the mornings National Public Radio has a program called “The Pulse of the Planet,” which is totally naturalistic and evolutionary. Ironically, their motto is that they are bringing you “the miracles of science.” (ED: THAT WAS IN 2013, NOW THEY HAVE REMOVED "MIRACLES" AND SAY "SOUNDS OF LIFE ON EARTH") I would like to ask them, “How does science perform miracles?” What they are presenting are the miracles of God as seen in His creation! The miracles that Jesus did, attested by many eyewitnesses, including His enemies (John 11:47), authenticate Him as Lord and Christ.

Is is surprising that Acts 2:22 "together with Acts 10:36–39 are the only passages in the Acts speeches which say anything about Jesus’ pre-crucifixion ministry. It is noticeable here that the feature picked out is his miracles, signs and wonders (more balanced in Acts 10:36–39), in echo of the Joel prophecy (Acts 2:19)." (Dunn - Acts of the Apostles)

Jesus (2424)(Iesous) means Savior (Mt 1:21) and is transliteration of the Greek Iesous, which in turn is the transliteration of the Hebrew name Jehoshua (Yehoshua) or Jeshua (Yeshua) which mean Jehovah is help or Jehovah is salvation. Stated another way the Greek Iesous corresponds to the OT Jehoshua (Yehoshua) which is contracted as Jeshua (Yeshua).

Zodhiates adds that "In the Gospels, our Savior is designated by the name of Christ alone in nearly 300 passages; by the name of Jesus Christ or Christ Jesus less than 100 times, and by the name of the Lord Jesus Christ less than 50 times. Prior to His resurrection, He was designated as Jesus Christ; after His resurrection, He is often referred to as Christ Jesus (Acts 19:4; Rom. 8:1, 2, 39; 1 Cor. 1:2, 30; Gal. 3:26, 28; Eph. 2:6, 7, 10, 13; Phil. 3:3, 8, 12, 14; Col. 1:4, 28; 1 Ti 1:12, 14, 15; 2 Ti 1:1, 2, 13; 1 Pe 5:10, 14)." (Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament)

Nazarene (3480)(Nazoraios from Nazara = Nazareth) describes an inhabitant of Nazareth and as in this passage is used to describe Jesus. In the plural nazoraios is used once to describe Christians (in a derogatory sense) (Acts 24:5+) This was in the inscription on the Cross (Jn 19:19). Zodhiates adds that "In Mt 2:23, we find the expression "He shall be called a Nazarene," i.e., according to the meaning of the Hebrew word netser (05342), "he shall be called a shoot" or branch. This is in allusion to such passages as Isa 11:1+; Isa 53:2+ and Zech 3:8; 6:12, but here also it implies reproach from the contempt in which Nazareth was held." (Ibid)

Nazoraios - 13x in 13v - Nazarene(9), Nazarenes(1), Nazareth(3).

Matt. 2:23; Matt. 26:71; Lk. 18:37; Jn. 18:5; Jn. 18:7; Jn. 19:19; Acts 2:22; Acts 3:6; Acts 4:10; Acts 6:14; Acts 22:8; Acts 24:5; Acts 26:9

A Man attested to you by God - The NLT says "God publicly endorsed Jesus the Nazarene." NIV has "Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you." Attested (more below) gives a great word picture for one nuance of this verb is that God "exhibited" Jesus or "put Him on display" (like 1 Cor 4:9). The Greek word attested also conveys the idea of offering proof (cf Acts 25:7), so Jesus of Nazareth was a Man proven by God to be Who He claimed to be. Notice also the phrase to you, which suggests that at least some of the Jews in the audience had personally witnessed some of the supernatural acts of Jesus that proved Who He was!  A T Robertson agrees commenting that Jesus "wrought His miracles by the power of God in the midst of these very people here present!"  (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

With miracles and wonders and signs - McNeal says these are "Events which unmistakeably involve an immediate and powerful action of God designed to reveal His character or purposes. "The supernatural feats of Jesus during His life on earth were specifically given to prove He was the Messiah the Jews had been expecting. And Peter proceeds to prove it by speaking (in order) about Jesus' life, His death, His resurrection and His exaltation. 

Attested (584)(apodeiknumi from apo + deiknumi = to point out, cause to see) means to cause something to be known as genuine, to cause it to become displayed in a manner accessible to or observable by the public. In Acts 25:7 Paul says that serious charges were brought against him which his accusers "could not prove (apodeknumi)."  So here the idea of apodeiknumi is to show by argument and so to prove, which is the same sense as Peter intends to convey here in Acts 2:22. Jesus was shown to be Who He claimed to be!

Apodeiknumi in Acts 2:22 is in the perfect tense which speaks of an action in the past have continuing effect in the present. Jesus' miracles happened in the past but when one reads about them with eyes of faith (opened by the Spirit), the "effect" of those miracles continues to impact the reader. In short, Jesus' miracles displayed Him or proved Him to be truly God. But Satan always seeks to counterfeit the truth and so this same verb is used by Paul to describe the Antichrist (Man of Lawlessness) who one day will take "his seat in the Temple of God (IT WILL BE REBUILT!) displaying (apodeknumi) himself as being God." (2 Th 2:4+).

Paul speaks of himself as an apostle exhibited by God (1 Cor 4:9). Vine states that in 1 Corinthians 4:9, it is a technical term for the exhibition of the gladiators.  John MacArthur says that this "imagery is of condemned prisoners brought into a Roman arena to fight and die; the last ones brought out for slaughter were the grand finale. In His sovereign wisdom and for His ultimate glory, God chose to display the apostles figuratively before men and angels during the present age as just such worthless and condemned spectacles (cf. Mt 19:28). Like doomed gladiators, they were ridiculed, spit on, imprisoned, and beaten; yet, God glorified His name through them as He used them to build His kingdom." (MacArthur Study Bible)

Miracles (1411)(dunamis) or as the NAS marginal note refers to them, "works of power." Dunamis refers to the supernatural manifestation of God's power through Jesus described in many ways in the Gospels (see Mt 11:20, 21, 23, 13:54, 58, Mk 6:2, 5, 6:14, 9:39) In Luke 4:14 note that "Jesus returned to Galilee in the power (dunamis) of the Spirit," so clearly the miracles the Father did through the Son were empowered by the Spirit, demonstrating the Trinity in action (see Lk 4:36, 5:17, 6:19)! Later in Acts 10:38 Peter gives a summary explanation of the miracles of Jesus declaring "You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power (dunamis), and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him." In short, the miracles of Jesus were manifestations of the mighty power of a supernatural God in Jesus, the God-Man. As noted below there is considerable overlap between miracles and wonders and signs

John Phillips comments on Jesus' miracles "The New Testament records only 36 -- on an average less than one a month for the three and one-half years of His public ministry-for God does not want us to rest our faith on miracles. But what miracles they were! He walked on the sea; He turned water into wine and multiplied loaves and fishes. He banished demons, disease, and death. He healed the sick, cleansed the leper, and raised the dead. And the miracles recorded are a fraction of those He actually performed. Several times the sacred historians simply lump miracles together, telling of the crowds of sick folk who came to Jesus with the comment, "And He healed them all." John ends the gospel narrative by saying that the world itself could not contain the books that could be written about Jesus and His signs." (Exploring Acts)

Wonders (5059)(teras) translates a Greek word from which the word terror comes and denotes something unusual (e.g., miracles) that causes the beholder to be startled or to marvel because what they see cannot be readily explained. Teras refers to “something strange", a phenomena which compels one's attention and causes one to "look again" or causes the beholder to marvel. Although teras usually follows “signs,” it sometimes precedes it (Acts 2:22, 2:43; 6:8) or occurs alone (Acts 2:19). It is interesting that Luke does not use teras in his Gospel account but uses it 9 times (out of 16 NT uses) in the book of Acts (Acts 2:19; Acts 2:22; Acts 2:43; Acts 4:30; Acts 5:12; Acts 6:8; Acts 7:36; Acts 14:3; Acts 15:12).

John Polhill makes an excellent point that ""throughout Acts the term 'wonders' only occurs in conjunction with 'signs,' a testimony to the fact that mere marvels have no value in themselves except as they point beyond themselves to the divine power behind them and so lead to faith" (New American Commentary - Acts).

Signs (4592) (semeion) refers to what distinguishes one person or thing from another (cf Lk 2:12+, Ro 4:11). In simple terms a sign points to something. As used here by Peter, signs were supernatural phenomena (miracles) that functioned like a "divine finger" pointing to Jesus as One with divine authority. For example, John records "This (Jesus' miracle of creating wine out of water) was the beginning of His signs Jesus did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him." (John 2:11) Signs were mighty manifestations of the power of God to get the attention of the people to point them to spiritual truth. Nicodemus  exclaimed, "Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher; for no one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him" (John 3:2). In John 6:2 says "a great multitude was following Him, because they were seeing the signs which He was performing on those who were sick." These signs were followed by the sign of feeding the multitude. John writes "Therefore when the people saw the sign which He had performed, they said, “This is truly the Prophet who is to come into the world.” (Jn 6:14) He then used this supernatural manifestation of power to direct their attention to spiritual truth and teach them that He was the Bread of Life (Jn 6:35, 48). Similarly, Jesus performed the miracle of Lazarus's resurrection as a sign (cf Jn 12:17, 18) which Jesus applied to Himself teaching "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies."  (John 11:25).

W A Criswell adds that "In the first-century church, there was an increase of supernatural works. They fell into three major categories: (1) miracles (dunamis, Gk.), or literally "works of power"; (2) wonders (teras, Gk.) in the sense of phenomena which compel one's attention or cause one to "look again"; and (3) "signs" (semeion, Gk.) which may or may not always be supernatural like the first two. They are "signs" in the sense of being comparable to prophecies or spiritual truths. Semeion stresses the spiritual truth embodied in the miracle (John 20:30, 31)." (Believer's Study Bible)

Which God performed through Him - Indeed, it is notable that throughout this section in which Peter reviews Jesus' life, death, resurrection and ascension to the Jews, He repeatedly mentions God's role in these events (Acts 2:22, 23, 24, 30, 32, 33, 36, not counting pronouns that clearly refer to God - e.g., Acts 2:25, 27, 28). Clearly, Peter is showing the Jews that God was with Jesus, making his case that Jesus was indeed the Messiah. And so the omnipotent, omniscient God is the "hidden Actor" (so to speak) behind the scenes in control of the scenes He is behind! And He does so all the while allowing men to make choices of their will. Mysterious but true! 

Wiersbe - Peter's audience knew that Jesus was a real Person from the town of Nazareth and that He had performed many signs and miracles. (On "Jesus of Nazareth," see Acts 2:22; 3:6; 4:10; 6:14; 10:38; 22:8; 26:9; also 24:5.) It was clear that God's hand was on Him. They had heard Him speak and had watched His life. They had even seen Him raise the dead, yet they could find no fault in Him—and these things were not "done in a corner"! (Acts 26:26) (Bible Exposition Commentary )

Moody Bible Commentary - The word miracles identifies the supernatural element of Jesus’ works; wonders describes the effect of the miracle on the witnesses; and signs indicates the purpose of the miracle. It is significant that no one protested Peter’s statement, since many of those present had been eyewitnesses to Jesus’ miraculous works.

In your midst just as you yourselves know - What is Peter saying? He is saying in essence these Jews were fully aware of the supernatural phenomena because they occurred in their midst and they knew it! This is a clear indictment of Peter's Jewish audience. They could not claim ignorance or claim they had not seen the miracles and wonders and signs! Peter is appealing first to their intellect calling on them to recall what they had seen or heard about Jesus. Faith is not fuzzy but begins with objective data. The Spirit of course must open the eyes of natural (unregenerate) men else even facts appear foolishness to them (1 Cor 2:14+). 

Know (1492)(eido is used only in the perfect tense = oida) means in general to know by perception, meaning these Jews had become aware of the truths about the supernatural ability of Jesus through their senses. This is knowledge they knew without a shadow of a doubt (they had no excuses!) They saw Him perform miracles and signs and wonders. And those from other regions of the Roman Empire had surely been told of these supernatural events by the Jews who were eyewitnesses.

Matthew gives us a good summary of Jesus' ministry in the midst of the Jews, and undoubtedly some who had witnessed Jesus' miracles were in Peter's audience...

Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.  24 The news about Him spread throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all who were ill, those suffering with various diseases and pains, demoniacs, epileptics, paralytics; and He healed them. 25 Large crowds followed Him from Galilee and the Decapolis and Jerusalem and Judea and from beyond the Jordan. (Mt 4:23-25)

John MacArthur says "Rejection of Jesus Christ on the part of Israel was not a question of information, nor was it a question of revelation, but it was a question of their hatred and their love of sin. The Holy Spirit convicts these people through Peter of sin and rejecting the evidence of Christ’s miraculous life. They could not plead ignorance. There was no excuse. They had sinned against light. They had sinned against conclusive evidence....It was never a question of evidence. It was never a question revelation. It was always a question of open, willful, God-hating rejection....It was never a question of evidence. It was never a question revelation. It was always a question of open, willful, God-hating rejection. Listen to John 14:10. “Believest thou not that I am in the Father and the Father in Me,” He said to Philip, “the words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself. But the Father that dwelleth in Me He doeth the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me or else believe Me for the very works sake.” Philip, you ought to know. I mean, how could anybody deny. Then listen to this, John 15:24, and here He indicts them. John 15:23 says “He that hateth Me hateth My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which no other man did, they had not had sin.” The great sin of rejecting Him. They wouldn’t have been guilty of rejecting Him if He hadn’t done these miracles. But He gave them all the evidence. “But now have they both seen and,” what’s the next word, “hated both Me and My Father.” The end of John 15:25 says “they hated Me,” what, “without a cause.” They hated and despised Him. Why? Because He was all the righteousness that they were not. And their whole bag was self-righteousness and He indicted them and He stepped all over their ecclesiastical code. And so the life of Jesus Christ was an exhibit. It was a proof and it was a proclamation by God the Father that this was in fact the Messiah. The evidence was in. The evidence was conclusive and they knew it. “But men love,” what, “darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.” (Jn 3:19) And thus they committed the greatest sin that could ever be committed. They rejected Jesus Christ."

Spurgeon's exposition of Acts 2:22-23 - This was bold talking, for Peter was doubtless addressing many of the very people who had put the Lord to death, and he charges them with it. Observe how he declares that Christ’s death was in accordance with “the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God,” yet he expressly says that “by wicked hands” they had crucified and slain Him. It never occurred to Peter that the counsel of God deprived men of the responsibility and guilt of their actions. No; neither need it ever occur to you. If anyone shall ask you, “When anything is according to the foreknowledge and counsel of God, how can God blame the doer of it?” you may tell him that he has first to explain to you what he means; and if he says there is a difficulty in it, ask him to tell you what the difficulty is. Those who knew better than the objector could see none. The inspired apostle Peter could see none; but when he was most vehement in charging these men with guilt, yet, at the same time, he said that it was by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. Surely he was a bad pleader to introduce into his argument anything that could be readily construed into an excuse for those he was accusing. But there is no real excuse in it; the free agency of man is as true as the predestination of God; the two truths stand fast forever. It is the folly of man to imagine that they disagree. If you do wrong, you are accountable for the wrong; and if there is a providence which ordains everything—as certainly there is—yet that providence takes not away from any man the full responsibility for anything that he does. So, truly did Peter say to these Jews concerning Christ, “Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain.”

Phillips sums up that for the Jews in Peter's audience "there was no excuse. Jesus was a recognizable Messiah. He was approved of God. He fulfilled all the criteria for the Messiah. He was of the tribe of Judah and of the family of David. He was born of a virgin and was born at Bethlehem. Out of Egypt God had called His Son. He lived as foretold and died and rose again as prophesied. There was no excuse for unbelief. The story of Jesus was known throughout the entire land." (Ibid)


Faith in the coming Messiah is deeply rooted in historical Judaism. Rambam (1135–1204), one of their most-read sages, wrote, “Whoever does not believe in him [the Messiah], or does not await his coming, denies not only the other prophets but also the Torah and Moses, our teacher, for the Torah attests to his coming.” (Hilchos Melachim From The Mishneh Torah Of The Rambam,11:1) The New Jewish Encyclopedia defines the MESSIAH as “a modified form of the Hebrew word Mashiah (See masah/maschah) meaning ‘anointed,’ applied in the Bible to a person appointed for special function, such as High Priest or King. Later the term Messiah came to express the belief that a Redeemer, that is a divinely appointed individual, will in the end bring salvation to the Jewish people and to the entire human race” (p.317).

One view of the Jewish anticipation of the last days, for instance, is summarized by Raphael Patai in The Messiah Texts: "The pangs of the messianic times are imagined as having heavenly as well as earthly sources and expressions. From above, awesome cosmic cataclysms will be visited upon the earth: conflagrations, pestilence, famine, earthquakes, hail and snow, thunder and lightning. These will be paralleled by evils brought by men upon themselves: insolence, robbery, heresy, harlotry, corruption, oppression, cruel edicts, lack of truth, and no fear of sin. All this will lead to internal decay, demoralization, and even apostasy. Things will come to such a head that people will despair of redemption. This will last seven years (ED: THIS IS FASCINATING AND FITS WITH ANOTHER JEWISH MAN'S PREDICTION - Daniel's Seventieth Week). And then, unexpectedly, the Messiah will come." (pp.95-96).

As seen above, the messianic expectation in Jewish literature is very real. This anticipation is based on the Hebrew prophets who saw a time of terrible tribulation called the “time of Jacob’s trouble.” In the midst of that darkest of ages, the Messiah will come, the conquering King who will sit on His throne in Jerusalem and establish the kingdom of heaven here on earth. The Apocalypse Of Abraham, an extrabiblical book, says: "Then I will sound the trumpet out of the air, and will send mine Elect One [the Messiah], having in him all my power, one measure [of each of my attributes]; and this one shall summon my despised people from the nations, and I will burn with fire those who have insulted them and who have ruled over them in this Age." (ibid, p.96). Jewish sources are consistently clear that King Messiah will be known as the “Prince of Peace,” and during His reign, “there will be a resurrection of the dead, followed by the great day of judgment for all mankind. The way to the Garden of Eden will be revealed.” 

A MESSIANIC ANTICIPATION - The anticipation of national deliverance through a person anointed by God has been a theme of Judaism throughout the ages. Sometimes this shared expectation became a hope in false messiahs. At other times, the title of messiah came to rest on men who reflected characteristics of the great King and hope of Israel. The word messiah literally means “anointed,” as does the word Christ. In Israel, priests were anointed, kings were anointed, and some theologians believe God divinely anointed others for the purposes of redeeming Israel from some calamity. Therefore, rabbinic tradition has often seen messianic characteristics in the deliverers of Israel. Here are just four in a long list of persons referred to as “messiah” in extrabiblical Jewish literature.

Enoch. “That angel came to me, . . . saying, ‘You are the Son of man [i.e., the Messiah] who art born for righteousness, and righteousness has rested upon you. The righteousness of the Ancient of days shall not forsake you’” (1 Enoch 70:17-18).

Moses. “My beloved is like a gazelle” (Song 2:9). Rabbi Yitzhaq said, “Just as this gazelle can be seen and then again hides itself, so the first Messiah [Moses] revealed himself to the Children of Israel and then again hid himself from them.” 

Hezekiah. “The Holy One, blessed be He, wanted to make Hezekiah [king of Judah] the Messiah.” 

Menahem ben ’Amiel. “This is the Messiah of the lineage of David, and his name is Menahem ben ’Amiel. He was born during the reign of David, king of Israel.”

Often, however, the anticipation of a deliverer allowed the people of Israel to put their faith in persons who raised their hopes without being able to deliver. According to The New Jewish Encyclopedia, “Most leaders of messianic movements are known as false messiahs. The most important of these were David Alroy in the 12th century; David Reubeni in the 16th century; Shabbetai Tzevi in the 17th century; and Jacob Frank in the 18th century. It is important to note that some of the so-called false messiahs had the support of the great intellects and spirits of their day. Shabbetai Tzevi was accepted enthusiastically by scholars, rich men, and poor men alike” (p.318). The list goes on and on. In short, in Judaism there is room for many potential “candidates” spanning the entirety of Israel’s history. Most recently, a sect of ultra-Orthodox (Lubavitchers) in New York believed (and still believe) that Chief Rabbi Menachem Schneerson was the messiah. When he died in 1994, they turned to Isaiah 53 (ED: See my commentary on Isaiah 53) to predict his resurrection and ascension to the throne in Jerusalem. To this day, this sect has not chosen another chief rabbi as they await Schneerson’s resurrection! (ED: PONDER THAT THOUGHT A MOMENT - HOW TRAGIC THAT THEY MISS THE RESURRECTION OF THE TRUE MESSIAH!) (Excerpt from Kevin Williams' booklet The Jewish Tradition of Two Messiahs).

Related Resources on Messiah:

Acts 2:23 this [Man], delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death.

KJV Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

  • this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God Acts 3:18; 4:28; 13:27; 15:18; Ps 76:10; Isa 10:6,7; 46:10,11; Da 4:35; Da 9:24-27; Mt 26:24; Luke 22:22,37; 24:44-46; John 19:24,31-37; Ro 4:17; 11:33-36; 1 Peter 1:20; 2:8; Jude 1:4; Rev 13:8
  • you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death  Acts 3:13-15; 4:10,11; 5:30; 7:52; Ge 50:20; Mt 27:20-25
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


In Acts 2:22 Peter dealt with the incarnation of Jesus and now moves on to the crucifixion of Jesus, followed in Acts 2:24 with the resurrection.

This Man - Man is added by the translators. The pronoun this (Jesus the Nazarene Who God had clearly displayed and proven) occurs first in the sentence and serves to highlight the marked contrast between what the Jews thought of Jesus and what God thought of Jesus.

Lenski comments that the "The emphatic τοῦτον, (FIRST WORD IN GREEK SENTENCE) "Him," "this one," sums up all that has been said: this man so mightily and publicly accredited from God—Him the Jews murdered!...Here Peter preached the law with its crushing power in order to bring about the conviction of sin and genuine contrition. He in no way softens his words since this would only defeat their purpose.(Borrow the interpretation of the acts of the apostles)

Many (if not most) of the Jews in the audience thought that the fact that Jesus died on the cross invalidated His claim to be the Messiah. Why was He a victim? If He was truly Messiah, He could have used His power to avoid crucifixion. Why didn't He do that? And of course their conclusion would be, He did not do it because He was not really the Messiah! But Peter now proceeds to give a defense which confronts and corrects their faulty reasoning. He will do so by declaring that Jesus was delivered to death by God's plan set in motion from eternity past. 

Delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God - Peter is saying Jesus' death was not an accident. Jesus was not a hapless victim Who helplessly fell into the hands of His enemies. This had always been from the beginning God's plan for the redemption of mankind.

Delivered over (1560)(ekdotos from ekdidomi = to deliver up) is a verbal adjective which means to be given up to the will of another, including the idea of betrayal. By Divine design (predetermined plan and foreknowledge) Jesus was betrayed by Judas in Mt 26:48 where betraying is the similar verb paradidomi meaning to give over to the power of another, in this context to the Jewish religious leaders. These leaders in turn "bound Him, and led Him away and delivered (paradidomi) Him to Pilate the governor.  (Mt 27:2). Why did God allow this? "“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life." (John 3:16)

Jesus Himself recognized this divine plan was what had been written and was necessary (Luke 24:25-27, 46+) and so gave Himself of His own accord (Gal. 1:4; Eph. 5:2, 25; 1 Tim. 2:6; Titus 2:14).

Predetermined (3724)(horizo from horos = boundary, limit; English horizon) means strictly speaking to limit and then to mark out with a boundary and figuratively to determine. In other words, the events surrounding Jesus' crucifixion were based on a definite, prearranged plan and purpose of God. 

The words the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God are a Greek construction governed by the Granville-Sharp rule. This grammatical rule simply states that when two nouns are joined by the word “and” (Greek kai) and the first noun has the definite article (article = "the") in front of it and the second does not, both nouns refer to the same thing. In Acts 2:23, this rule shows that the word foreknowledge refers to the same act as does the phrase predetermined plan and is an additional description. Predetermined is in the perfect tense (past completed act with ongoing effect) which refers to the past act of God "putting limits upon something" (so to speak) with the present result that that certain thing (in this case the crucifixion of His Son) has been appointed or decreed. God did not just foreknow, but He actually foreordained the crucifixion. The predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God describes this consultation as one that had as its purpose the fixing of limits upon, thus determining the destiny of God's Son. In other words, in eternity past (2Ti 1:9+; Re 13:8+), the Trinity, determined that the Lord Jesus Christ should be given over into the hands of godless men to be crucified. The word foreknowledge (see below) refers to the same act, and therefore includes in it the truth indicated by the predetermined planForeknowledge, however, adds the idea of the foreordination or appointment in advance of the Person whose destiny was decided upon in the plan referred to. Stated succinctly the Granville Sharp rule in Acts 2:23 equates foreknowledge to a predetermined plan. According to Peter, God's foreknowledge is a deliberate choice. God foreknew not by prior observation, but by bringing into reality His predetermined plan.

Plan (purpose)(1012)(boule) refers to that which has been purposed and planned. It was God's definite plan, His designated will. The Crucifixion was no accident, but was God’s design and set purpose (boule). In other words the Cross was God’s determined will, not just His inclination. 

God did not just "foreknow" that Jesus would be crucified (which of course He did know), but what Peter is saying is that God actually foreordained it to occur. To foreordain means to dispose or appoint in advance. 

We see this same thought repeated later in Acts...

Acts 4:27-28 “For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose (boule) predestined (proorizo from before + horizo) to occur.

Acts 13:27-29  “For those who live in Jerusalem, and their rulers, recognizing neither Him nor the utterances of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled these by condemning Him. 28 “And though they found no ground for putting Him to death, they asked Pilate that He be executed. 29 “When they had carried out all that was written concerning Him, (a reference to OT prophecies fulfilled in Jesus' Crucifixion) they took Him down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb.

As J I Packer put it God "knows and foreknows, all things, and His foreknowledge is foreordination; He, therefore, will have the last word, both in world history and in the destiny of every man."

Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary says "God’s foreknowledge is much more than foresight. God does not know future events and human actions because He foresees them; He knows them because He wills them to happen. Thus God’s foreknowledge is an act of His will." (Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Dictionary)

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Foreknowledge Based on Foreordination - God's foreknowledge, according to the Scripture teaching, is based upon His plan or eternal purpose, which embraces everything that comes to pass. God is never represented as a mere onlooker seeing the future course of events, but having no part in it. That God has such a plan is the teaching of the entire Scripture.

Foreknowledge (4268)(prognosis from verb proginosko from pro = before + ginosko = to know) literally means to know beforehand. God's foreknowledge means not only that He knew beforehand but that He also planned beforehand (cf. similar idea in Ex 33:17; Jer 1:5; Amos 3:2; Matthew 7:22; 7:23 [note]). As used of God, the word prognosis means foreknowledge with a purpose that can never be frustrated.

John MacArthur on prognosis - Significantly, the word appears here in the instrumental dative case. That shows that it was the means by which Christ's deliverance to His enemies took place. Yet, mere knowledge cannot perform such an act. Foreordination can act, however, and that is the New Testament meaning of prognōsis. (MacArthur NT Commentary - Acts)

The natural human tendency is to believe that God's foreknowledge simply refers to His foresight, the idea that He knew beforehand. In a discussion of God's foreknowledge regarding election, Dr MacArthur explains why men equate foreknowledge with foresight. Click here (select Chosen by God - Part 2 - Scroll down to heading entitled "Man's Decline").

John Phillips - The death of Christ was foreknown of God in a past eternity. When God acted in creation, He also acted in redemption. Jesus is described as "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Rev. 13:8). God knew that, given a free will, man would sin; that His holiness would demand full payment for that sin; that His love would provide a free pardon for that sin; that in the fullness of time the Father would send the Son and that the Spirit would prepare His body; that God would become incarnate in Christ; and that, in the end, man would murder Him. All that was foreknown and taken into account by God's determinate counsel. (Exploring Acts)

Steven Cole - Peter shows that Jesus was not killed because He was a victim of His enemies. He was killed because God predetermined before the world began that Jesus would die as the Savior of His people. Isaiah 53:10+ prophesied, “But the Lord was pleased to crush Him, putting Him to grief.” And so rather than invalidating Jesus as Lord and Messiah, His death actually validated Him, since it was a fulfillment of God’s eternal decree. (The Sermon that Launched the Church)

David G. Peterson remarks, “God’s foreknowledge (Gk. prognōsis) means more than his ability to anticipate the future. It is another way of talking about his determination of events in advance, according to his own plan.” (The Acts of the Apostles)

Now we see the mysterious juxtaposition of God's sovereignty (His predetermined plan and foreknowledge) and man's responsibility (culpability in this case). So while God set the plan of redemption in motion even "before time began" (2 Ti 1:9NET+), men are still held responsible for their volitional (willful) choices. 

You nailed to a cross - First Peter incriminates the Jewish listeners! Talk about bold confrontation! Can you imagine the audience beginning to squirm? Now of course they did not physically, literally nail Jesus to the Cross, but they made it possible by crying out to Pilate, "Crucify, crucify Him!" (Lk 23:21+) even though Pilate thought Jesus was innocent and sought to try to release Him (Lk 23:22, 23, 24+). 

By the hands of godless men - "By the hands of" is Hebraistic for "by means of." Next, Peter incriminates the godless Gentiles, aka, the pagan Romans, especially the Roman soldiers but also by implication Pontius Pilate (cf Acts 4:27).

Steven Cole adds "Without violating their will, God used evil men to accomplish His eternal purpose, but those evil men were responsible for their crime. No one can blame God for his own sin."

Godless (Lawless) (459)(anomos from a = without + nomos = law) means literally without law and thus lawless. Recognizing no law in 1Ti 1:8. In the present context anomos refers to not so much to those who transgress the law, but those who either do not have, do not know or do not acknowledge the law, which describes the Gentiles. TDNT writes that anomos "has the objective sense of “having no law” and the subjective sense of “paying no heed to law.” The Jews often use the term for the Gentiles with some vacillation of sense." How fitting hat the title the "lawless one" is given to the man of sin, the consummate "lawless one (anomos)," the Antichrist, "whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming." (2 Th 2:8).

NET Note on anomos - refers to non-Jews who live outside the Jewish (Mosaic) law, rather than people who broke any or all laws including secular laws. Specifically it is a reference to the Roman soldiers who carried out Jesus’ crucifixion.

Longnecker - Gentiles are frequently referred to in Jewish literature as “wicked” (e.g., Jub 23:23–24) and “lawless” (e.g., Pss Sol 17:11, 18; cf. 1 Cor 9:21), either because of their actual sins or simply because they did not possess the Mosaic law. (EBC)

And put Him to death - Peter did not flinch when he says you (Jews) killed Jesus. You murdered Him! Peter made similar indictments later in Acts (Acts 2:36; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30; 7:52; 10:39; 13:28) Phillips comments that "God's foreknowledge does not absolve man from his fearful guilt. Men crucified the Christ. It was the most wicked thing ever done on this sin-cursed planet. And they had done it; their hands were stained with Jesus' blood. There was no escaping their guilt. They had murdered the Messiah, slain the very Son of the living God. There could be no greater guilt than that." (Ibid)

Horton makes an important distinction writing that "It should be emphasized also that Peter was speaking here to Jerusalem Jews, many of whom were involved in the cry "Crucify Him!" The Bible never puts this kind of responsibility or guilt on the Jews in general. For example, in Acts 13:27-29, Paul, speaking to Jews in Pisidian Antioch, is careful to attribute the crucifixion to the people and rulers of Jerusalem, saying "they," not "you." Further, Gentiles had a hand in the crucifying, so the sins of all people nailed Him to the cross (ED: I.E., YOU AND ME!). (Acts: A Logion Press Commentary)

Toussaint adds a slightly different thought - Many times the apostles accused the Jews of crucifying Jesus (ED: NOTE PRONOUN "YOU" IN FOLLOWING) (Acts 2:23, 36; 3:14-15; 4:10; 5:30; 7:52), though the apostles also held the Gentiles culpable (Acts 2:23; 4:27; cf. Luke 23:24–25). (Bible Knowledge Commentary)

MacArthur sums up Peter's point - God used evil men to accomplish His purpose, yet never violated their will or removed their culpability by doing so. Peter thus presents the total sovereignty of God alongside the complete responsibility of man. That apparently paradoxical truth is affirmed throughout Scripture and is illustrated in Luke 22:22. Speaking of His betrayer there, our Lord said, "The Son of Man is going as it has been determined; but woe to that man through whom He is betrayed!" Men are responsible not for God's plans but for their own sins. The heinous sin of rejecting Jesus Christ was the blackest moment in Israel's history. Far from casting doubt on His messianic credentials, however, that betrayal was part of God's eternal plan. And though Peter does not develop the thought here, the Old Testament clearly teaches that Messiah had to die (cf. Ps. 22; Isa. 53). The death of Jesus Christ, no less than His life, confirmed that He was the Messiah. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Acts)

Constable writes "The ultimate cause of Jesus' death was God's plan and foreknowledge, but the secondary cause was the antagonism of godless Jewish and Roman men. Really the sins of every human being put Jesus on the cross."  (Acts 2 Commentary)

Holman Apologetics Commentary on the Bible -  In Scripture, God’s foreordination never eliminates human responsibility. How exactly that works is a mystery hidden in the person, design, and foreknowledge of God. What God calls us to be concerned about is not the nature of how this works, but how we respond to him, for God holds us accountable for our response. (Gospels to Acts)

Near Portland, Oregon there is a bridge over the Columbia River called "the Bridge of the Gods." The name comes from an old Indian tradition that once, long ago, there was a natural bridge there. Sin dug a chasm between man and God. No natural bridge could span the distance. Jesus Christ built the bridge with his cross. It is truly "The Bridge of God!"

Acts 2:24   "But God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power.

KJV Acts 2:24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

  • But God raised Him up again Acts 2:32; 3:15,26; 10:40,41; 13:30,34; 17:31; Mt 27:63; Luke 24:1-53; John 2:19-21; 10:18; Ro 4:24; 6:4; 8:11,34; 14:9; 1 Cor 6:14; 15:12; 2 Cor 4:14; Gal 1:1; Eph 1:20; Col 2:12; 1 Th 1:10; He 13:20; 1 Peter 1:21
  • putting an end to the agony of death Ps 116:3,4,16
  • since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. Acts 1:16; Isa 25:8; 26:19; 53:10; Hosea 13:14; Luke 24:46; John 10:35; 12:39; He 2:14; Rev 1:18
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


But - A strategic, decisive, dramatic term of contrast. What is Peter contrasting? 

Lenski - Here we have the first apostolic preaching of the resurrection of Jesus....You made away with him—God raised him up! You did it by crucifying him—God did the opposite by loosing the pangs of death!  (Borrow the interpretation of the acts of the apostles)

God raised Him up again (cf same phrase God raised up - Acts 2:32, 3:15, 26, 10:40, 13:30) - So note first that God the Father raised His Son. And in Romans 1:8NLT we see the Spirit is also involved Paul writing that Jesus "was shown (DECLARED) to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord."

The story is told that a certain M. Lepeau complained to Talleyrand that a new religion of his—one he considered a great improvement over Christianity—had failed to catch on with the people. He asked Talleyrand for some suggestions. Talleyrand dryly said, “M. Lepeau, to insure success for your new religion, all you need do is have yourself crucified and then rise from the dead on the third day!” The resurrection “declared” that Jesus was the Son of God. The Greek word is very helpful in getting the force of the idea because it is related to our English word horizon, “the boundary between heaven and earth.” God’s mighty deed in raising Jesus from the dead “horizoned” Him—that is, it clearly marked out Jesus as the divine Son.

MacArthur - The resurrection of Jesus Christ was not only the central theme of apostolic preaching but also is without question the climax of redemptive history. It proves beyond doubt the deity of Jesus Christ and establishes His messianic credentials. It is also the guarantee of our own resurrection (Jn 14:19; Ro 6:4-5; 1 Cor. 6:14; 15:16-23). The resurrection is the crowning proof that God accepted the sacrifice of Jesus Christ (cf. Ro 4:25). Without it, His death becomes the heroic death of a noble martyr, the pathetic death of a madman, or the execution of a fraud. The greatest proof that Jesus is the Messiah, then, is not His teaching, His miracles, or even His death. It is His resurrection. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Acts)

J Vernon McGee quips - This is the first sermon ever preached in the church age. This is the beginning. This is the Day of Pentecost. What is his theme? It is not the prophecy of Joel, my friend. It is the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Let’s not try to change his subject!

Peter has spent one verse on Jesus' life/incarnation (Acts 2:22) and one verse on His death/crucifixion (Acts 2:23), but now proceeds to spend 9 verses on His resurrection. In fact the resurrection of Christ could well be called the main theme of the apostolic preaching in Acts. 

In fact notice the repeated emphasis on the Resurrection of Christ throughout the book of Acts. How can we do any less today in our preaching and teaching! Do you frequently mention the resurrection of Christ from the dead? If not, you should! 

  1. The pivotal point in Peter's sermon on Pentecost (Acts 2:24, 31-32),
  2. Peter's second sermon (Acts 3:15),
  3. Peter's defense before the Sanhedrin (Acts 4:2, 10).
  4. The apostles' preaching (Acts 4:33).
  5. Peter's defense in his second arraignment (Acts 5:30).
  6. A vision of the risen Christ converted Paul (Acts 9:3-6).
  7. Peter preached the resurrection to Cornelius (Acts 10:40).
  8. Paul preached the resurrection in Antioch (Acts 13:30-37),
  9. Paul preached the resurrection in Thessalonica (Acts 17:3),
  10. Paul preached the resurrection in Athens (Acts 17:18, 31),
  11. Paul preached the resurrection in Jerusalem (Acts 22:6-11),
  12. Paul preached the resurrection in to Felix (Acts 24:15, 21),
  13. Paul preached the resurrection in to Festus and Agrippa (Acts 26:8, 23).

MacArthur - Before Peter can ever talk to them about where they need to be, he's got to show them where they are. And just in that subtle little statement that carries itself through Acts, "you have killed Him, God has raised Him," is implied that constant dichotomy. And that constant issue that every man on the face of the earth must face. That he is a rebel against God. This simple statement gets right to the heart of the problem = the pride of man. Are you willing to admit your rebellion against God? God has an agenda, a will, a path of righteousness and holiness that He has prescribed. You have your own agenda and will and path of sinful pleasure that you choose to follow. Do you want the narrow road that leads to heaven or the broad way that leads to destruction? You cannot enter that salvation gate without stooping low in humility as a little child.

A T Robertson has an interesting note - Apparently this is the first public proclamation to others than believers of the fact of the Resurrection of Jesus. "At a time it was still possible to test the statement, to examine witnesses, to expose fraud, the Apostle openly proclaimed the Resurrection as a fact, needing no evidence, but known to his hearers" (Furneaux). (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

Raised...up (450)(anistemi from ana = up, again + histemi = stand, to cause to stand) means literally to get up, to stand up, to stand again, to cause to rise (thus "to raise"). The most important figurative use of anistemi is to raise up from the dead or to bring back to life. Below are the 30 uses of anistemi that refer to resurrection  and here are Luke's uses in the Gospel and Acts - Lk 9:8, 19, Lk 16:31, Lk 18:33, Lk 24:7, 46, Acts 2:24, 32, Acts 9:40, 41, Acts 10:41, Acts 13:16, 34, Acts 13:33. 

Lenski on Putting an end to the agony of death - The idea is that, when Christ died, death was taken with birth pains and suffered them until God delivered death of Christ by raising him up, thus “loosing the birth pains,” ending their strain. (Borrow the interpretation of the acts of the apostles)

Putting an end to the agony of death ( NET = "having released him from;" ESV = "loosing;" NIV = "freeing") - Death is an "agony" for all men born in Adam (Ro 5:12+), but for all born again in Christ, we have been set free from this "agony," for our death is but a doorway to Paradise and the presence of Jesus! O what a blessed hope we have in Christ Who loosed the pains of death! Hallelujah! As Jesus told His disciples "“After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also." (Jn 14:19). Take a moment and worship our Resurrected Redeemer...

Because He Lives
God sent His son, they called Him Jesus;
He came to love, heal and forgive;
He lived and died to buy my pardon,
An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives!

Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,
Because He lives, all fear is gone;
Because I know He holds the future,
And life is worth the living,
Just because He lives!

How sweet to hold a newborn baby,
And feel the pride and joy he gives;
But greater still the calm assurance:
This child can face uncertain days because He Lives!

And then one day, I'll cross the river,
I'll fight life's final war with pain;
And then, as death gives way to victory,
I'll see the lights of glory and I'll know He lives!

Cornerstone Biblical Commentary observes that this is "a remarkable mixed metaphor in which death is regarded as being in labor and unable to hold back the Messiah's resurrection."

Putting an end (loosing) (3089)(luo) means to loose, release, set free, open. The idea is to set free what is bound. And as Lenski says "for Christ these pains ended at the moment of his death." (Borrow the interpretation of the acts of the apostles)

Agony (5604)(odin from odune = torment) is found in the secular Greek writings from Homer down and primarily refers to the the pain of childbirth and so is rendered labor pain or birth-pang. In secular Greek usage, metaphorically, odin referred to any travail or anguish. Jesus used the picture of the intense agonizing pains of childbirth as a metaphorical description of the intense anguish men will experience because of the dramatic calamities which will precede His Second Coming. (Mt 24:8, Mk 13:8)  In this passage in Acts Luke uses odin to describe the agonies that Jesus experienced associated with His death. In 1 Th 5:2 Paul uses odin to describe the Day of the Lord, emphasizing that even as labor pains often have a sudden onset, the destruction associated with the Day of the Lord will unexpectedly overtake those who live in self-security. This recalls Peter's words of warning in Acts 2:20 "I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME."

Just as birth pangs are temporary, so to was the agony of death for Jesus, and just as a woman's birth process gives rise to a new life, the pangs of death Jesus endured resulted in new life in the resurrection.

We see a similar phrase pains or pangs of death in the Septuagint of two passages in the OT...

The cords of Sheol (Lxx = pangs of death -odines thanatou) surrounded me (DAVID SPEAKING); The snares of death confronted me.  (2 Sa 22:6)

For the choir director. A Psalm of David the servant of the LORD, who spoke to the LORD the words of this song in the day that the LORD delivered him from the hand of all his enemies and from the hand of Saul. And he said, “I love You, O LORD, my strength.” ....4 The cords of death (Lxx = pains/pangs of death - odines thanatou) encompassed me, and the torrents of ungodliness terrified me.  5 The cords of Sheol (Lxx = odines hadou = pains/pangs of hades/hell) surrounded me; The snares of death confronted me.  6 In my distress I called upon the LORD, And cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, And my cry for help before Him came into His ears.  (Ps 18:1, 4-6)

Wiersbe - The word translated "pains" (agony) means "birth pangs," suggesting that the tomb was a "womb" out of which Jesus was "born" in Resurrection glory (see Acts 13:33).(Bible Exposition Commentary)

Tony Evans - Death was unable to hold Christ, not only because He is God, but because His death broke the power of sin. Sin is the only power that can hold a person in death. Death only exists because of sin, so when sin is done away with, death has lost its hold on us (1 Corinthians 15:55–56). When Jesus rose from the dead, He broke the power of sin for all time. And since we are attached to Jesus by faith, since we hold the “receipt” that shows our sins have been paid for, we will not stay dead either. It is impossible for us to be held in death’s power because it was impossible for Christ to be held in death’s power. This is sweet truth! (Theology You Can Count On)

Stott Agony means literally “birth pains”, so that his resurrection is pictured as a regeneration, a new birth out of death into life.

Spurgeon - Peter is here speaking of the risen Christ, whom God had raised up, “having loosed the pains of death.” So it is clear that whatever those pains were, our blessed Lord Jesus Christ felt them— He felt them much more than His followers do, for, in His death-agony, He was left without the sustaining help of God and the light of His Father’s Countenance was hidden from Him. His death was a bitter one, indeed! He took the deepest draughts of wormwood and gall, for He had to “taste death for every man,” whatever that mysterious expression may mean. We must never imagine that there was about Christ’s death anything which took away from its bitterness. There was much that increased it, but nothing that diminished it. He was bound, as with strong cords, by the pains of death. All His powers were, for a time, fettered. He was held captive and He did really die. After death, He was buried. But there was this remarkable fact about His dead body—it saw no corruption. In the case of ordinary corpses, corruption begins very speedily. In a climate like that of Jerusalem, it is very quick in doing its work of dissolving the mortal fabric. But, although our Lord did truly die, no taint of corruption came upon His precious body. The reason for that was, first, because it was not necessary. Corruption is not a part of the sentence which Christ had to bear. The penalty of sin is death—and that He bore to the utmost. But there was no necessity that He should also endure the usual consequences of death and, therefore, although He died, His flesh was not permitted to see corruption....Why was it impossible that the bonds of death should hold Christ? There are several reasons:

1) The first is that Christ had in Himself the inherent power to die, and to live again . . .
2) Next, the dignity of His Person rendered it impossible that He should be held by the cords of death, apart from the consent of His own will, = His Deity . . .
3) His redeeming work was done. . .
4) He had His Father’s promise that He should not. . .
5) Because each of His offices (as high priest, King and Redeemer) is everlasting, ordained of God in perpetuity—therefore He must rise from the dead.  (Bonds Could Not Hold Him - read the entire sermon for elaboration of Spurgeon's reasons)

Thomas Constable has an interesting way of explaining this passage - God, a higher Judge, reversed the decision of Jesus' human judges by resurrecting Him. God released Jesus' from the pangs of death (Gr. odinas tou thanatou), namely its awful clutches (cf. 2 Sa 22:6; Ps. 18:4-6; Ps 116:3). A higher court in heaven overturned the decision of the lower courts on earth. It was impossible for death to hold Jesus because He had committed no sins Himself. He had not personally earned the wages of sin (Rom. 6:23), but He voluntarily took upon Himself the sins of others. (Acts 2 Commentary)

Since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power - The word "power" is not in the Greek, so the more accurate rendering is "because it was not possible for Him to be held by it." As Paul wrote “O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O  DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?” (1 Cor 15:55). 

MacArthur says "Because of His divine power (Jn 11:25; Heb 2:14) and God’s promise and purpose (Lk 24:46; Jn 2:18-22; 1 Co 15:16-26), death could not keep Jesus in the grave."

Impossible (two words - ouk = absolute negative + dunatos) not powerful enough. Jesus conquered death with His death!

John Phillips "It is not possible!" That is the position taken by the agnostic and atheist when confronted with the resurrection of Christ. "It is contrary to nature, it defies natural law, it never happened, it is a lie propagated by the disciples who stole the body and faked an empty tomb." God takes the same position when confronted with the unbelief of men regarding the resurrection. "God hath raised him up... because it was not possible that he should be holden of it." Hallelujah for such a glorious Divine impossibility! It was impossible for God to leave Jesus in the tomb.  It was impossible because He was sinless. "The wages of sin is death," says the Scripture. He did no sin, so obviously, He could not die. But die He did. He died because He was made sin for us, because He "bare our sins in his own body on the tree" (1 Pet. 2:24). Having thus paid the price of our sin, having suffered the extreme penalty and having discharged the debt, "it was not possible that He should be held" by death. The resurrection was part of that "determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God" (Acts 2:23), God's receipt to the believer for a debt paid in full. What a message to herald to that guilty multitude who stood there on that Pentecost morning! What a message to be blazed across the world! (Exploring Acts)

Spurgeon - This Jesus has God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Here Peter appealed to the eleven, and to all the disciples then present who had seen Jesus after He had risen from the dead (1 Cor 15:3-8). It must have been a very impressive sight as they all stood up bearing witness that they had seen the Christ, who was crucified, alive after His death. It was a wonderful public attestation to that grandest of all facts, the raising again from the dead of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God.

Guzik - “It was not possible that the chosen one of God should remain in the grip of death; ‘the abyss can no more hold the Redeemer than a pregnant woman can hold the child in her body.’” (Bruce, quoting Bertram) (Acts 2 Commentary)

POSB -  It was impossible for death to hold Christ. Why? There are several significant reasons.
a. There was God’s foreknowledge and determinate counsel. God knew that the way of the cross and resurrection was the very best way to save the world. Therefore, nothing could stop God from following through with the death and resurrection of His Son. (Acts 2:25–28.)
b. Jesus was approved by God. He had God’s approval, sanction, accreditation, endorsement. Jesus Christ was perfectly acceptable to God (see note—Acts 2:22–24 for discussion).
c. Jesus’ resurrection was foretold by Scripture, and Scripture must be fulfilled (see note—Mt. 17:23 for all the verses in the New Testament).
d. Jesus was Life itself. He possesses the very being, essence, quality, substance, and energy of life. He is The Life, Life itself; therefore, He is the source of all life. All life finds its source in the energy and being of Christ Himself. Therefore, being Life, death could not engulf Him any more than darkness can engulf light. Jn. 14:6.)
e. Jesus was sinless. Death exists or happens because everything is short of perfection—short of what it should be—short of God’s glory. This is true of man. Man dies because he has “sinned and come short of God’s glory” (Ro. 3:23). Sin is …being short, missing the mark, transgressing God’s glory And it is sin that causes death. Therefore Jesus Christ, being sinless, did not have to die. He died because He willed to die for man.  The point is this: Jesus was sinless and perfect and righteous (Jn. 8:46; 2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 4:15; 7:26; 1 Pt. 1:9; 2:22). He was the Ideal Man, the Sinless Man, the Perfect Man—the Ideal Pattern for all other men. Therefore, when He died for men, He died as the Ideal Man or the Ideal Pattern. And death cannot hold the Ideal Man, for the Ideal Man came short in nothing. He was not short in life; therefore, He was destined to live forever. He was Perfect Life and Perfect Man. As the Scripture says, “It was not possible that He should be held by it [death].” (See Ro. 1:4.)

MacArthur on the importance of the Resurrection - Now the resurrection of Jesus Christ as well known to all of us is the cornerstone of Christianity. It is mentioned at least 104 times in the New Testament. It is, without question, the most profound and prominent point in biblical history and in all redemptive history. When the apostolic company, for example, after the apostasy and suicide of Judas, met together for the purpose of selecting one to complete their number again to twelve, in the process of their selection the statement was made that the reason for which one was to be chosen was that he might be a witness with us of the resurrection. That become the very chief thing, the great issue in the proclamation of Jesus Christ, that He was alive. For that’s what sets Him apart from every other religious leader who ever existed. He came out of the grave alive. The crucifixion loses its meaning without the resurrection, as we well know. The resurrection becomes in Scripture the crowning proof, not only of Jesus’ deity, but the guarantee of our own resurrection. And if you remove the resurrection, then the death of Christ is the heroic death of a noble martyr or it’s the pathetic death of a deranged mad man or it’s the execution of a fraud and it can’t be anything more without the resurrection. And so we would conclude then it’s not primarily His teaching, it’s not primarily His miracles, it’s not even primarily His dying that is the key it is primarily His rising again. Unless Jesus Christ had risen there would be no church. At the death of Christ, the disciples were scattered like chaff in the breeze. They were regathered when He arose from the grave and the church was born. And this became the cornerstone of all great apostolic preaching. And it’s still the life blood of Christianity.

D L Moody - I CAN imagine when they laid our Lord in Joseph’s tomb one might have seen Death sitting over that sepulcher, saying, “I have Him; He is my victim. He said He was the Resurrection and the Life. Now I hold Him in my cold embrace. They thought He was never going to die; but see Him now. He has had to pay tribute to me.” Never! The glorious morning comes, the Son of man bursts asunder the hands of death, and rises, a conqueror, from the grave. “Because I live,” He shouts, “ye shall live also.” Yes, we shall live also—is it not good news?

We Will Be Like Him!

Read: Acts 2:22-36 

The Lord Jesus Christ . . . will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body. —Philippians 3:20-21

One fall my grandsons gathered cocoons they found in a swamp. The boys hung the dry, unattractive, and motionless objects in a cool place for the winter. The following spring they moved the cocoons to a place in the warm sun. Soon there emerged from the tomb of one cocoon a gorgeous creature —a luna moth, gracefully unfolding its drying wings in readiness to take its flight into the sky. Its colors were indescribable, and it was unspeakably graceful in its unhurried stretching and folding of its delicate wings.

Yes, springtime is resurrection time. The emergence of the moth, though, is not a true resurrection from death but a metamorphosis of life. It is a change in form because of its inner life. The resurrection of Jesus Christ, however, was life from the dead. But it was also a metamorphosis. As Jesus was changed into an infinitely more beautiful form, so shall our resurrection be. The Greek word translated “fashioned” or “conformed” in Philippians 3:21 is summorphon, meaning “to change form” or “metamorphose.” Because Jesus rose from the grave, we can be confident that our bodies will be changed and fashioned to be like His glorious body.

Yes, one day we will be like Him!

We will reflect the glory of Christ when we see Him face to face.

By M.R. DeHaan  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)


KJV Acts 2:25 For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved:

  • For David says of Him Acts 2:29,30; 13:32-36
  • I saw the Lord always in my presence -  Ps 16:8-11
  • For He is at My right hand - Ps 73:23; 109:31; 110:5; Isa 41:13; 50:7-9; John 16:32
  • So that I will not be shaken - Ps 21:7; 30:6; 62:2,6
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

In Acts 2:25-36 Peter presents five (some say four) proofs for the resurrection of the Christ, the Messiah:

  1. The prophecy of David (Acts 2:25–28 quoting Ps 16:8-11).
  2. The testimony of Peter (Acts 2:29–31 alluding to Ps 132:11 and 2 Sa 7:12-13).
  3. The eye-witnesses (Acts 2:32).
  4. The supernatural events of Pentecost (Acts 2:33)
  5. The exaltation and ascension of Jesus, David's "greater Son" (Acts 2:34–35 - quoting Ps 110:1).

On the basis of these clear proofs Peter was able to reach the rock solid conclusion...

“Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ–this Jesus whom you crucified.” (Acts 2:36)

And this result in a Spirit wrought conviction...

Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” (Acts 2:37)

PSALM 16:8-11

For - Term of explanation. What truth has Peter just plainly declared to the Jews? "God raised Him up." So what is he doing in this passage? Clearly, he is providing Scriptural evidence to support his statement that God the Father resurrected His Messiah. And so Peter now recites the second of his three OT quotations, this time from the Psalter, specifically Psalm 16:8-11. Remember that all caps in the NAS signifies a direct quotation from the Old Testament (cf Acts 2:25-28).

Jesus Himself had attested to the value of the OT Scriptures to reveal to the Jews that He was the Messiah. He appealed to the OT Scriptures both before and after His resurrection, which is undoubtedly when Peter's mind was opened to the OT passages that spoke of the coming of Messiah. 

John 5:39-40  You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; 40 and you are unwilling (THE BASIC PROBLEM OF THE JEWS) to come to Me so that you may have life.

Luke 24:27+ (THE TWO ON THE ROAD TO EMMAUS) Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. 

Lk. 24:44-48+ Now He said to them (HERE JESUS IS SPEAKING TO THE DISCIPLES INCLUDING PETER) , “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 “You are witnesses of these things (PETER WAS BEING PREPARED TO PROCLAIM THESE TRUTHS ON PENTECOST). 

Kent: Peter was well aware that most of his audience, though willing perhaps to admit the miraculous deeds of Jesus, would reject his messiahship because he had been executed as a criminal. Therefore, he showed from Psalm 16:8-11 that Messiah’s death was included in the will of God and was predicted in Scripture.

For (gar) - This is a term of explanation. What is Peter explaining to his Jewish audience? What was the last truth he had just declared about Messiah? Had he not just said that the Messiah could not be held by death? So now Peter proceeds to defend this statement by appealing to the OT Scriptures. Peter quotes Ps 16:8-11 to support his declaration that God raised Jesus from the dead which fulfilled David’s prophecy concerning the resurrection of the Messiah.

So Peter appeals to Psalm 16 which is recognized by almost all authorities as a Messianic Psalm and is probably the clearest prediction of Messiah's resurrection in the OT. David wrote the words but Peter is saying these words apply to the Messiah. Indeed, Jewish tradition applied Psalm 16 to the Messiah. Dr A Cohen, a non-believing Jewish writer, comments on Psalm 16 that “Ineffable happiness has been his lot (ED: i.e., "fullness of joy" in Ps 16:11) because of his complete submission to God. It is pure speculation to assign the composition to any particular period of David’s life.” Cohen is agreeing that David did not fulfill the words he himself had penned. 

David says of Him - Who is Him? In context Peter sees this as referring to Jesus the Nazarene. In other words although written by David, the words are prophetically spoken by the Messiah. The following statement in Acts 2:27 is "nor allow Your Holy One to undergo decay" supports the interpretation that Ps 16:8-11 is fulfilled in the Messiah and not in the life of David. David was a man who died and his body underwent decay. It follows that these words cannot describe David which is exactly what Peter confidently says in Acts 2:29 "Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.'

A T Robertson - Peter interprets Psalm 16:8-11 as written by David and with reference to the Messiah. There is but one speaker in this Psalm and both Peter here and Paul in Acts 13:36 make it the Messiah. David is giving his own experience which is typical of the Messiah (Knowling). (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

As an aside, we find a similar "apologetic" use of Psalm 16 by Paul in his Sabbath message at the synagogue in Psidian Antioch declaring... ..

that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, ‘YOU ARE MY SON; TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU.’ 34 “As for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: ‘I WILL GIVE YOU THE HOLY and SURE blessings OF DAVID.’ 35 “Therefore He also says in another Psalm, ‘YOU WILL NOT ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY.’ 36 “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay; 37 but He whom God raised did not undergo decay. 38 “Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you (Acts 13:33-38).

Guzik offers a suggestion as to why Peter may have quoted from Psalm 16 writing that "Peter recognized that though this Psalm spoke of David, it spoke of someone greater than David – the Messiah, Jesus the Christ. Jesus may have taught Peter this when He instructed the disciples in the Scriptures (Luke 24:44-45+ = " that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled. Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures")." (Acts 2 Commentary)

Here are David's words from Psalm 16:8. As noted above David's language is predictive and illustrative of the Messiah, even while referring initially to his own experience, but the ultimate fulfillment is in Jesus Christ.

I have set the LORD continually before me; because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.  

Comment: These words while applying ultimately to the Messiah, initially applied to David, who made the decision to continually put God first in his life. David was saying that the Lord God would continually be his primary focus. Would it be that all God's children had David's mindset to "set Jehovah continually before" us, so that we would continually be aware of His presence and sensitive to His Spirit's guiding and empowering our thoughts, words and actions! Let it be so Lord. Amen.

Alexander Maclaren adds "The upshot of all is a firm resolve to make really his what is his. "I set Jehovah always before me"-since He is "always my lot." That effort of faith is the very life of devotion. (PONDER THAT THOUGHT!) We have any possession only while it is present to our thoughts....True love is an intense desire for the presence of its object. God is only ours in reality when we are conscious of His nearness, and that is strange love of Him which is content to pass days without ever setting Him before itself. 

David of course did not follow this pattern perfectly, but the Son of David, the Messiah, did, for Jesus was always in perfect union and intimate contact with His Father. Thus He alone could say "I always do the things that are pleasing to Him" (Jn 8:29) and "I speak the things which I have seen with My Father." (Jn 8:38), etc. 

Horne adds that "“The method taken by Christ, as Man, to support Himself in time of trouble, and persevere unto the end, was to maintain a constant and actual sense of the presence of Jehovah, Whom when He thus saw standing at His right hand, read, at the appointed hour, to succor and deliver Him, He then feared not the powers of earth and hell combined for His destruction.” 

I saw the Lord always in My presence - Peter is quoting from the Septuagint which is why the words are not quite the same as in David's words above, which are the translation of the Hebrew text (rather than the Septuagint). As we have discussed above, while these words applied to David in his day, they had a greater application to the Son of David, the Messiah. And with that thought in mind we can interpret the Lord as a reference to God the Father and the possessive pronoun My as referring to the the Son, Who saw sees Himself as always in the presence of His Father. The idea is that Jesus always practiced and was always conscious of the presence of God, right before His eyes.

I saw (KJV = "foresaw")(4308)(proorao from pro = before + horao = to see) means to see before, thus (looking into the future) able to see an event before its occurrence. The other sense is to have before one's eyes which is the sense in the present use in Acts 2:25. Saw is in the imperfect tense = over and over, again and again, a good "verb tense" for all God's people - fixing our eyes over and over, all day long, on our glorious risen, exalted Lord Jesus. Amen. Of course in context Peter is saying that this was in fact Jesus' attitude - keeping His Father always in His sight, ever before Him. A good practice for all His disciples to imitate, only possible as we submit to and are enabled by the Spirit of Jesus! (cf 1 Jn 2:6+).  

Presence ("before my face") (1799)(enopion from en = in + ops = the eye/see [cp optanomai = see, perceive with eyes, look at, implying not only the mere act of seeing but actual perception of what one sees]) means literally in sight, in front of, in the presence of. Being in sight. Before the face and thus the idea of face to face (cf Coram Deo)! Of doing something in someone’s presence. Jesus was always doing whatever He did as if in the presence of His Father, for that was ever the case!

For (term of explanation) He is at My right hand so that (term of purpose or result) I will not be shaken - In regard to Peter's use in this context the Messiah is saying that God the Father is at at His right hand, in the position of Protector and Defender. 

Lenski on at My right hand - as advocates used to sit at the right side of the clients they supported (AS THE STILL DO ON MOST COURT DRAMAS ON TV!) as not to be made to toss to and fro in uncertainty and in fear. The same thought is found in Ps. 23:4.  (Borrow the interpretation of the acts of the apostles)

Robertson adds that "The Lord Jehovah like a defender or advocate stands at (MESSIAH'S) right hand as in trials in court (Ps 109:31 = "For He stands at the right hand of the needy, To save him from those who judge his soul."). (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

As Spurgeon said "to trust the Lord as our Champion and Guard is the privilege of every saint."

POSB - Jesus always had God on His right hand, that He should not be moved. God was right there as an Advocate and as a Protector and Defender. God was a provider looking after Christ, strengthening, guiding, upholding, seeing that He was not moved nor shaken. The picture is that of a defender in court or of a soldier on the battlefield standing at a person’s right hand, protecting, looking after, and providing for his welfare. (See Ps 109:31 for this picture.)

MacArthur observes that "In a wedding ceremony, the bridegroom stands to the right of the bride. In the ancient world, a bodyguard stood on the right side of the one he was protecting. In that position he could cover him with his shield and still have his right arm free to fight." (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Acts)

Be shaken (agitated) (4531)(saleuo) means to cause to move to and fro, to waver and totter, shake as by winds or storms, like an earthquake, and figuratively to be distressed, agitated or upset. When our eyes are fixed on Jehovah, we are much less likely to be shaken but untoward circumstances!

Saleuo is used in the Septuagint of Ps 62:2 which is a testimony of David that...

He only is my Rock and my Salvation, My Stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken (Hebrew = mot; Lxx = saleuo). 

Spurgeon -  His personal weakness might cause him to be somewhat moved; but his faith would come in to prevent any very great disturbance; not much would he be tossed about. Moved, as one says, "but not removed." Moved like a ship at anchor which swings with the tide, but is not swept away by the tempest. When a man knows assuredly that the Lord is his salvation, he cannot be very much cast down: it would need more than all the devils in hell greatly to alarm a heart which knows God to be its salvation.


KJV Acts 2:26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:

  • My tongue exulted Ps 16:9; 22:22-24; 30:11; 63:5; 71:23
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

In Acts 2:25-36 Peter presents five (some say four) proofs for the resurrection of the Christ, the Messiah:

  1. The prophecy of David (Acts 2:25–28 quoting Ps 16:8-11).
  2. The testimony of Peter (Acts 2:29–31 alluding to Ps 132:11 and 2 Sa 7:12-13).
  3. The eye-witnesses (Acts 2:32).
  4. The supernatural events of Pentecost (Acts 2:33)
  5. The exaltation and ascension of Jesus, David's "greater Son" (Acts 2:34–35 - quoting Ps 110:1).


Here are David's words from Psalm 16...

Ps 16:9 Therefore my heart is glad and my glory rejoices; My flesh also will dwell securely.

Therefore - Term of conclusion. David continues to describe the benefits of setting the LORD always before Him (Ps 16:8, Acts 2:25). Peter's emphasis is of course how this applies to Messiah and he says that because of the confidence that His Father was at His right hand and He would not be shaken, He would be able to express the heart attitude and vocal exultation described below.

POSB - Such a consciousness of God’s presence was bound to cause … the heart to rejoice (euphranthe): to be joyful and full of euphoria, full of God’s presence and glory.... the tongue to be glad (egalliasato): to leap for joy and break forth with praise and song.

My heart was glad and My tongue exulted - Recall that although applicable to David (see paragraph below), Peter is applying this description to the Messiah, describing His delight and the rejoicing that was in His heart. This description recalls the wonderful description by the writer of Hebrews, who describes "Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of faith, Who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."  (Heb 12:2+). 

Recalling that the heart (kardia) refers to the center of one's being, the center of the personality, Lenski writes that Messiah's heart "was filled with gladness, the same verb that is used for making merry at a celebration in Luke 15:32+; and His tongue jubilated, exulted in songs and expressions of praise....From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh; heart and tongue go together." (HOW'S YOUR TONGUE BEEN TODAY? IT'S AN EXCELLENT BAROMETER OF YOUR HEART! AN EXCELLENT BAROMETER OF WHO IS IN CONTROL -- SELF OR SPIRIT!) (Borrow the interpretation of the acts of the apostles)

David Guzik comments on Ps 16:9 as it applied to David (and thus to all believers), even though it was clearly Messianic - For those who do not live out a true commitment to God, it is easy for them to think of what such a commitment costs them. This is not entirely bad, because this kind of decision to set the Lord always before one’s self does have a cost, and the cost should be counted and appreciated. It may cost certain pleasures, popularity, anonymity, family relationships, life goals, career choices, financial priorities, and so forth. Yet David also tells us some of the benefits of such a life decision: my heart is glad, and my glory rejoices. There was happiness and a glory David knew by this life commitment that he would not have known otherwise. David could maturely understand both the costs and the benefits, and sing a song of praise about his life decision. (Acts 2 Commentary)

John Phillips - David was so good a singer because he was so great a seer. There is nothing like a glimpse of heaven's viewpoint to put a hallelujah in the heart. To know that, in Christ, God has conquered not only sin and Satan, but the sepulcher as well should ring the joybells in each believing heart.

Be glad (2165)(euphraino from eu = well, good + phren = mind, intellect, disposition) means in active sense to make someone glad, to cheer someone up, to make them joyful in mind, to cause them to be glad (2Cor 2:2, Lxx = Ps 19:8, Pr 23:15). Euphraino in Acts 2:26 is in the passive voice and means to be glad, to be joyful, to celebrate or be jubilant (used 4 times with this sense in story of Prodigal son = to feast in token of joy), to enjoy oneself, to be delighted, to keep a day of rejoicing.

Robertson says euphraino is the "First aorist (timeless here like the Hebrew perfect) passive indicative of euphrainō (cf. Luke 15:32). Timeless also is "rejoiced" (ēgalliasato). (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

Exulted (21)(agalliao from agan = much + hallomai = jump; gush, leap, spring up) means literally to "jump much", "leap for joy", skip and jump with happy excitement and so to be exceedingly joyful, overjoyed or exuberantly happy. Barclay writes that agalliao "is the joy which leaps for joy. As it has been put, it is the joy of the climber who has reached the summit, and who leaps for joy that the mountain path is conquered." That is not a bad description of Jesus Who "for the joy set before Him, endured the Cross, despising the shame." (Heb 12:2+).

Moreover - This describes an additional reason for Messiah's joy described above. Peter is saying that this quote from Ps 16:9 in essence expresses the Son of David's assurance that He could commit His body to the grave, fully confident that the Father would raise Him up! 

John Phillips - The primary reference is to the body of Christ lying in the grave. Jesus knew He was going to be crucified. He also knew He would not see corruption in the grave and that He would rise again the third day. On a number of occasions He foretold those things to His disciples. As man, His confidence was in the Word of God, which He implicitly believed. However, by extension, the truth was David's, too, and ours. "My flesh shall rest in hope!" Christ's resurrection is the guarantee of ours.

My flesh also will live in hope - My flesh refers to the physical body. Will live is probably better translated "will dwell in hope" (ESV) or "will rest in hope." (CSB) As viewed from David's perspective, this is a further benefit of setting the Lord always before him, and it speaks of God's blessing in one's life in the future (life after death). The word hope speaks of a glorious future beyond the grave. 

The phrase will live in hope is more literally "will live upon (epi) hope!" I like that picture, as if we "feed" upon the absolute certainty that God will do good to us and for us in the future and throughout eternity! Blessed Hope indeed (cf Titus 2:13+)!

Maclaren applying Psalm 16:9 to believers writes "The heart that expands with such blessed consciousness of possessing God can chant its triumphant song (my heart was glad and my tongue exulted) even in front of the grave....If we would be sure of immortal life, we must make the mortal a God-filled life (AND ALL GOD'S PEOPLE SAY "AMEN!")."

Will live (2681)(kataskenoo from kata = down, intensifies + skenoo = pitch one's tent) literally means “to pitch one’s tent” and hence to settle permanently. It is frequently found in the Septuagint and generally stresses the thought of a longer stay. In classical Greek it is used of an encampment. The idea of secure and lasting dwelling is the sense in the LXX uses in Nu 14:30, Dt. 33:12 and here in Ps. 16:9. Kataskenoo has been found on an ancient Christian gravestone (BDAG) and euphemistically means to rest. It remind me of the acronym we often hear "R.I.P."! Of course, the only ones who will truly "Rest In Peace" are those who have during their life obtained that peace with God. As Paul said "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." (Ro 5:1+). The only "door" to peace in this like and the life to come is through faith in the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you have "peace with God?" through the Lord Jesus Christ?

Vincent on kataskenoo - Lit., dwell in a tent or tabernacle. Rendered lodge, Matthew 13:32; Mark 4:32; Luke 13:19. It is a beautiful metaphor. My flesh shall encamp on hope; pitch its tent there to rest through the night of death, until the morning of resurrection. (Word Studies in the New Testament)

Lenski - The temporary tenting comprises both the bodily life of David (AND MESSIAH) and the stay of his (MESSIAH'S) body in the grave. In both conditions his flesh makes its tent and camp “on hope,” on this as the ground (epi = upon). (Borrow the interpretation of the acts of the apostles)

POSB - Jesus’ flesh rested (DWELT,) in hope. The phrase “shall rest” (kataskenosei) means shall tabernacle or pitch a tent. Jesus’ flesh rested, tabernacled, pitched its tent, encamped and made its abode upon hope—the hope (CERTAINTY) of conquering death, of being resurrected. Hope of living forever was the basis and foundation of Jesus’ life, that for which He lived. He focused His whole life and being upon the hope of the glorious resurrection. (ED: HOW APPROPRIATE THAT PAUL CALLS JESUS OUR "BLESSED HOPE." ARE YOU LOOKING EXPECTANTLY FOR HIM? - Titus 2:13+). 

Hope (1680)(elpis) as used in the Bible almost always refers to a "hope sure," not a "hope so" (the most common meaning in English). Biblical hope is something you can count on. It is the absolute assurance that God will do good to us in the future. In this Psalm, the Messiah expressed an absolute assurance that the Father would do good to Him in the (near) future (actually on the "third day"!) And then He goes on in the next verse to explain why He (MESSIAH) has this hope or absolute assurance that His Father will do good to Him in the future (i.e., resurrect Him from the dead).

The basis of Messiah's hope is not some ephemeral or flitting emotion, but is based on the firm foundation of truth in God's Word as explained in Acts 2:27.

In Acts 23:6 Paul uses elpis in the phrase "I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead" using "hope" with the idea of his absolute assurance that God would resurrect all believers from the dead. Paul has a similar use in Acts 24:15 declaring he has "a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, (NOW HE EXPLAINS HIS HOPE) that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked." (cf similar uses of "hope" in Acts 26:6; Acts 26:7;  Acts 28:20). The resurrection was the hope of the Jewish people, and was taught in the Old Testament (Job 19:25-27; Isa. 26:19; Da 12:2+).

The phrase My flesh also will live in hope reminds me of the famous declaration of the tried and tested saint, old Job, who declared "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him." (Job 13:15) The Hebrew verb "hope" is yahal/yachal which means to wait, even to wait expectantly and includes the ideas of confident expectation, trust and tarrying. Commenting on Job's declaration Spurgeon wrote "Once more, the grim supposition of the text, if ever it was realized by anybody it was realized by our Lord Jesus. Our great covenant Head knows to the full what His members suffer. God did slay Him, and glory be to His blessed Name, He trusted God while He was being slain.”


KJV Acts 2:27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

  • Because You will not abandon My soul to Hades Ps 49:15; 86:13; 116:3; Luke 16:23; 1 Cor 15:55; Rev 1:18; 20:13
  • Nor allow Your Holy One  Acts 3:14; 4:27; Ps 89:19; Mark 1:24; Luke 1:35; 4:34; 1 John 2:20; Rev 3:7
  • to undergo decay Acts 2:31; 13:27-37; Job 19:25-27; Jonah 2:6; John 11:39; 1 Cor 15:52
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

In Acts 2:25-36 Peter presents five (some say four) proofs for the resurrection of the Christ, the Messiah:

  1. The prophecy of David (Acts 2:25–28 quoting Ps 16:8-11).
  2. The testimony of Peter (Acts 2:29–31 alluding to Ps 132:11 and 2 Sa 7:12-13).
  3. The eye-witnesses (Acts 2:32).
  4. The supernatural events of Pentecost (Acts 2:33)
  5. The exaltation and ascension of Jesus, David's "greater Son" (Acts 2:34–35 - quoting Ps 110:1).


Here are David's words from Psalm 16...

Ps 16:10 For You will not abandon my soul to Sheol (Lxx = hades; Hebrew =  she'ol), ; Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.  

Because - Another term of explanation, in this context one that is very strategic. What is he explaining? What had Peter just quoted regarding the Messiah? The quotation expressed the Messiah's confidence that His body would "rest"  (implying a sojourn, not a permanent state) in the grave and would do so based upon hope. Now Peter explains the hope based on the truth of God's Word.

Lenski explains "This hope of David’s (MESSIAH'S) has solid reality under it and thus cannot end in disappointment as do the hopes of the ungodly which have no other foundation than the desires of the ungodly themselves. Jehovah, who has ever been at David’s (MESSIAH'S) right to keep him from being shaken by doubt and by fear, will never forsake him at the time of death. His hope is sure: “Because thou wilt not abandon my soul unto Hades.”...the abandonment here denied is not merely one which leaves a person in a terrible place after he has fallen there, but one which never even permits him to get into such a place." (Borrow the interpretation of the acts of the apostles)

You will not abandon My soul to Hades -  The word for "not" is the stronger Greek word (ou/ouk) signifying absolute negation. This is the central point, the absolute promise that God would not abandon Messiah to Hades (Greek = hades; Hebrew =  she'ol), the place of the dead, the place of punishment of the wicked. 

Will (not) abandon (desert, forsake, leave) (1459)(egkataleipo from en = in + kataleipo = forsake, desert) means literally to leave down in. It conveys the sense of deserting someone in a set of circumstances that are against them. The idea is to let one down, to desert, abandon, leave in the lurch, leave one helpless. The Father will not forsake His Son. The idiomatic phrase leave in a lurch means "to not do for someone what you had promised you would do." The Father was true to His promise (Ps 16:10)  for "God raised Him up on the third day." (Acts 10:40, cf 1 Cor 15:4).

Here is a horrible (but true) thought regarding abandon - A soul can be utterly forsaken and abandoned, doomed forever in hell. But Christ was absolutely sure that His soul would not be left and abandoned in hell.

Let's apply this truth of the Father's unfailing faithfulness to ourselves as believers, for in the book of Hebrews we read that God "Himself has said “I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE (egkataleipo) YOU,” (Heb 13:5+ - Note: Greek sentence has FIVE negatives!!!). Why is this true? Because we are in Christ Jesus! We are in eternal covenant with Him (Heb 13:20+)! And therefore absolutely nothing "will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Ro 8:39+)

Soul (5590)(psuche from psucho = to breathe, blow, English = psychology "study of the soul") is the breath, then that which breathes, the individual, animated creature. 

Hades (86)(hades) is the transliteration of the Greek word Hades (from a = negative + eido = to see) literally means "not seen" or "unseen" and literally means "the unseen place." Hades in the present context seems to be a more general reference to the abode of the dead, not the temporary underworld prison where souls of the ungodly await their final judgment (Lk 16:23+). 

Darrell Bock Hades is the Greek equivalent of Gehenna or Sheol, the place where the dead are gathered for judgment . . . Being in hades stands in contrast here to being in God’s presence and expresses the threat that death represents.

Nor allow Your Holy One to undergo decay - As noted above, even though David wrote this, his body did decay when he was buried. The body of Messiah however did not undergo decay. And the title Holy One is a messianic title. The Jews for the most part did not recognize Jesus as the Holy One, but the demons did! (Mk 1:24, Lk 4:34). When most of the "disciples" of Jesus departed after His "hard" teaching on the Bread of Life (Jn 6:66), Peter, speaking for the other 11, declared "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We (EXCEPT JUDAS) have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.” (Jn 6:68, 69). 

Jesus was in the tomb three days and yet experienced no decay

David Guzik - In quoting and applying this passage from Psalm 16 to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus, Peter showed a remarkably sophisticated understanding of the work of Jesus on the cross. He understood that because Jesus bore our sin without becoming a sinner, He remained the Holy One, even in His death. Since it is incomprehensible that God’s Holy One should be bound by death, the resurrection was absolutely inevitable. As Peter said: It was not possible that He should be held by death (Acts 2:24).  The fact that Jesus remained God’s Holy One despite the ordeal of the cross demonstrates that Jesus bore the penalty of human sin without becoming a sinner Himself. It also shows that this payment of sins was perfect and complete, they only type of payment a Holy One could make. In these ways (as Peter understood), the resurrection proves the perfection of Jesus’ work on the cross. We might imagine Jesus taking this promise to Himself in the agony before and during the crucifixion, and even afterwards. “It was as though our Lord had stayed his soul upon these words as He left this world and entered the unseen. . . . He sang, as He went, this hymn of immortal hope.” (Meyer) (Acts 2 Commentary)

John Phillips - Many a time the Old Testament saints must have puzzled over Psalm 16 with its reference to death and preservation from corruption in the grave. How could "the Holy One" of the psalm, the Beloved One, the Messiah, possibly die, and how could He possibly escape the inevitable corruption of the grave if He did? As with so many other prophecies, suddenly all was clear. 

Holy One (3741)(hósios) pertains to being without fault relative to deity, devout, pious, pleasing to God, holy. In the Septuagint hosios frequently refers to godly ones (Ps 30:4, 31:23, 32:6, 37:28, 50:5, 52:9, 79:2, 85:8, 86:2, etc). It describes a person who lives right before God and so is described as devout, dedicated or holy. The Holy One refers to Jesus in Acts 2:27, Acts 13:35 and Rev 16:5+

Constable - David referred to himself as God's devout (hosios) one. Peter saw this fulfilled literally in Jesus' resurrection from the grave after only three days. Jesus was the supremely devout One. (Acts 2 Commentary)

Decay (corruption)(1312)(diaphthora from diaphtheiro = to corrupt, destroy, perish) refers to the decay or decomposition of the physical body. It is used only in Acts and always in reference to bodily decay after death (Acts 2:27; Acts 2:31; Acts 13:34; Acts 13:35; Acts 13:36; Acts 13:37). All of these uses in Acts are in the context of the a description of the resurrection of Christ. In the Septuagint diaphthora often translates the Hebrew word for pit (shachath) (Ps 9:15, 30:9, "destructions" in Ps 107:20) or another word for pit (beer Ps 55:23)

Zodhiates points out that diaphthora "It does not refer to extinction but to the change of the present constitution of the body or the change of the moral makeup of a person." (Complete Word Study Dictionary – New Testament)

Diaphthora - 23x in 23v in the Septuagint


Job 33:28; Ps. 9:15; Ps. 16:10; Ps. 30:9; Ps. 35:7; Ps. 55:23; Ps. 107:20; Ps. 140:11; Prov. 28:10; Jer. 13:14; Jer. 15:3; Jer. 51:8; Lam. 4:20; Ezek. 19:4; Ezek. 19:8; Ezek. 21:31; Dan. 3:25; Dan. 6:23; Dan. 10:8; Hos. 11:4; Hos. 13:9; Zeph. 3:6;

Wayne Grudem discusses the phrase in the Apostle's Creed "“[He] was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell. The third day He arose again from the dead.”" He writes that "Support for the idea that Christ descended into hell has been found primarily in five passages: Acts 2:27; Romans 10:6–7; Ephesians 4:8–9; 1 Peter 3:18–20; and 1 Peter 4:6. (A few other passages have been appealed to, but less convincingly.) On closer inspection, do any of those passages clearly establish this teaching? (GRUDEM DOES NOT THINK SO) Acts 2:27. This is part of Peter’s sermon on the Day of Pentecost, where he is quoting Psalm 16:10. In the King James Version the verse reads: “because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.” Does this mean that Christ entered hell after he died? Not necessarily, because another sense is certainly possible for these verses. The word “hell” here represents a New Testament Greek term (Hades) and an Old Testament Hebrew term (שְׁאֹול, H8619, popularly translated as Sheol) that can mean simply “the grave” or “death” (the state of being dead). Thus, the NIV translates: “Because you will not abandon me to the grave nor will you let your Holy One see decay” (Acts 2:27). This sense is preferable because the context emphasizes that Christ’s body rose from the grave, unlike David’s, which remained in the grave. The reasoning is: “My body also will live in hope” (v. 26), “because you will not abandon me to the grave” (v. 27). Peter is using David’s psalm to show that Christ’s body did not decay—he is therefore unlike David, who “died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day” (v. 29 NIV). Therefore this passage about Christ’s resurrection from the grave does not convincingly support the idea that Christ descended into hell.

Related Resource: These resources have slightly different answers.


KJV Acts 2:28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.

  • You have made known to me the ways of life - Ps 16:11; 21:4; 25:4; Pr 2:19; 8:20; John 11:25,26; 14:6
  • You will make me full of gladness with Your presence -  Ps 4:6,7; 17:15; 21:6; 42:5; He 12:2
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

In Acts 2:25-36 Peter presents five (some say four) proofs for the resurrection of the Christ, the Messiah:

  1. The prophecy of David (Acts 2:25–28 quoting Ps 16:8-11).
  2. The testimony of Peter (Acts 2:29–31 alluding to Ps 132:11 and 2 Sa 7:12-13).
  3. The eye-witnesses (Acts 2:32).
  4. The supernatural events of Pentecost (Acts 2:33)
  5. The exaltation and ascension of Jesus, David's "greater Son" (Acts 2:34–35 - quoting Ps 110:1).


Here are David's words from Psalm 16:11...

Ps 16:11 You will make known to me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.

Maclaren (APPLYING IT TO DAVID) - The correspondence between his effort of faith in Ps 16:8 and his final position in Ps 16:11 is striking. He who sets Jehovah continually before himself will in due time, come where there are fulness of joys before God’s face; and he who here, amid distractions and sorrows, has kept Jehovah at his right hand as his counsellor, defender and companion, will one day stand at Jehovah’s right hand, and be satisfied forever more with the uncloying and inexhaustible pleasures that there abide.

You have made known to me the ways of life"Peter's quote of verse 11 of Psalm 16 has puzzled some commentators, since it doesn't appear to advance his argument. The phrase the ways of life (the Hebrew text of Psalm 16:11 uses the singular "path of life"), however, can be interpreted as a reference to the resurrection. It would thus have the sense of "the path to resurrection life." The context strongly implies such an interpretation. As a result of the resurrection, Messiah would be full of gladness as He experienced God's presence." (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Acts)

POSB - David’s prophecy concerned Jesus’ revelation, His revealing the ways of life and God’s presence. The Hebrew original reads “the path of life.” This is a marvelous declaration, a declaration that reveals the most glorious truth. God revealed the path of life to Christ, and Christ reveals it to us. The path of life, the way to escape death is to live in the countenance and presence of God. God will never abandon a man, never allow a man to see corruption if that man lives and walks in His presence. Jesus knew the path: it was God’s presence. Note: He was full of the joy of God’s presence. (So should we be.)

Guzik - The path of life is something enjoyed by the believer both now, and in eternity. God gives us eternal life to enjoy as a present gift, extending into eternity. (Acts 2 Commentary)

Robertson - Though dead God will show him the ways back to life. (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

You will make me full of gladness with Your presence - Interpreting this as written by David, but spoken by the Messiah, this declaration would imply the resurrection. As Lenski says "The future tense “wilt fill me” means already now and, of course, vastly more after death." (Borrow the interpretation of the acts of the apostles)

Maclaren - The singer David, whose clear notes thus rang above the grave, died and saw corruption. But, as the apostolic use of this psalm as a prophecy of Christ’s resurrection has taught us, the apparent contradiction of his triumphal chant by the fact of his death did not prove it to be a vain dream. If there ever should be a life of absolutely unbroken communion, that would be a life in which death would be abolished. Jesus Christ is God’s "Beloved" as no other is. He has conquered death as no other has. The psalm sets forth the ideal relation of the perfectly devout man to death and the future, and that ideal is a reality in Him, from whom the blessed continuity, which the psalmist was sure must belong to fellowship so close as was his with God, flows to all who unite themselves with Him. He has trodden the path of life which He shows to us, and it is life, at every step even when it dips into the darkness of what men call death, whence it rises into the light of the Face which it is joy to see, and close to the loving strong Hand which holds and gives pleasures forever more.

Guzik - David had full confidence that his life with God – both now and forevermore – would be marked by the highest and best pleasures. This is life lived above shallow entertainments and excitements. These pleasures are enjoyed at a place: “We are also told that heaven is to be enjoyed at the right hand of God. The right hand, even on earth, is the place of favor, and the place of honor, and they place of security. The right-hand place is always regarded as the place of dignity and nobility in all courts. God is not going to give his people any left-handed heaven, but they are to dwell at his right hand for evermore.” At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore: This tells that both in this life and the life beyond, true pleasures forevermore are found at the right hand of God, not in separation from Him. In his fictional work The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis wrote in the voice of a senior devil, complaining about the “unfair advantage” that God has against the devils as they do their dark work: “He’s a hedonist at heart. All those fasts and vigils and stakes and crosses are only a façade. Or only like foam on the sea shore. Out at sea, out in His sea, there is pleasure, and more pleasure. He makes no secret of it; at His right hand are ‘pleasures for evermore’. Ugh! I don’t think He has the least inkling of that high and austere mystery to which we rise in the Miserific Vision. He’s vulgar, Wormwood. He has a bourgeois mind. He has filled His world full of pleasures. There are things for humans to do all day long without His minding in the least—sleeping, washing, eating, drinking, making love, playing, praying, working, Everything has to be twisted before it’s any use to us. We fight under cruel disadvantages. Nothing is naturally on our side.” The conclusion of this Psalm is especially wonderful when we consider how it began. “The refugee of verse 1 finds himself an heir, and his inheritance beyond all imagining and all exploring.” (Kidner) When we go back to the first verse, we remember that this life of gladness and rejoicing and fullness of joy is not a problem-free life. It is a life that may be challenged, and face attack on many levels. Yet in that a life commitment to God has been made and is enjoyed, it is a secure, happy, blessed life. (Acts 2 Commentary)

Acts 2:29 "Brethren, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.

KJV Acts 2:29 Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. let me or, I may.

  • Brethren, I may confidently say to you. Acts 26:26
  • regarding the patriarch Acts 7:8,9; He 7:4
  • David Acts 13:36; 1 Kings 2:10
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

In Acts 2:25-36 Peter presents five (some say four) proofs for the resurrection of the Christ, the Messiah:

  1. The prophecy of David (Acts 2:25–28 quoting Ps 16:8-11).
  2. The testimony of Peter (Acts 2:29–31 alluding to Ps 132:11 and 2 Sa 7:12-13).
  3. The eye-witnesses (Acts 2:32).
  4. The supernatural events of Pentecost (Acts 2:33)
  5. The exaltation and ascension of Jesus, David's "greater Son" (Acts 2:34–35 - quoting Ps 110:1).


Brethren - Literally it reads "Men, brethren"  where brethren is adelphos. Peter is obviously using this designation not to refer to the Jews as Christian brethren but as fellow countrymen, fellow Jews  (cf Acts 3:22). 

I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David - Peter is pointing out that Psalm 16:8-11 cannot be speaking only of David. Peter's confidence and certainty is based on well-known facts, the fact that he died and the fact that his tomb is present.

Confidently (freely and boldly) (3954)(parrhesia/parresia from pás = all + rhesis = speech, act of speaking) is literally all speech or speaking all things and thereby conveys the idea of freedom to say all. The basic idea in the word is freedom of speech, when the word flowed freely. It is that attitude of openness that stems from freedom and lack of fear ("shaking" fear - godly, reverential fear is always appropriate) means in essence the freedom to say all. Greeks used parrhesia of those with the right to speak openly in the assembly. Speaking with plainness, openness and confidence (Acts 2:29). Speaking publicly or in the open (Jn 7:13, 11:54, 18:20) and then something done in public (Jn 7:26, Col 2:15-note)

Robertson on confidently (freely - KJV) - Telling it all (pan = all, rhēsia from eipon = to speak), with fullness, with boldness. Luke is fond of the phrase (as in Acts 4:13). It is a new start for Simon Peter, full of boldness and courage. (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

Luke's uses of parrhesia - Acts 2:29; Acts 4:13; Acts 4:29; Acts 4:31; Acts 28:31. 

Patriarch (3966)(patriarches from patria = race, lineage from pater = father + arche = beginning or head) means literally chief father. A patriarch is thus a ruling ancestor who may have been the founding father of a family, a clan, or a nation.(Holman) Patriarches was used of an important male ancestor -- patriarch, father of a tribe or nation, progenitor, chief of a family. This term is usually used of Israel's founding fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the twelve sons of Jacob (Israel). Luke 2:4 has the phrase "family of David," but this is the only time David is specifically called a patriarch. 

Vincent on patriarch - Applied to David as the father of the royal family from which the Messiah sprang.

J Vernon McGee makes an interesting suggestion - Apparently Peter was standing in the temple area. He could point his finger to the sepulchre of David. I have stood in that temple area and I could point my finger up to the top of Mount Zion where David is buried. He is saying, “It is obvious that David wasn’t speaking about himself because his bones are right up there on the top of the hill. His grave is there; his body did undergo corruption. He is not speaking of himself but of Someone whom you and I know, Someone who did not see corruption but was raised from the dead.”

That he both died and was buried - Died and buried are both aorist tense signifying this occurred at a definite time in the past. He is saying in essence that David's body did undergo decay. David's tomb was on Mount Zion, where most of the Jewish kings were interred in the same tomb.

And his tomb is with us to this day -   Neh 3:16 mentions David’s tomb. David's tomb was the visible evidence (the site of which was apparently known in Peter's time) and reminder that David was not the one who fulfilled the prophecy in Psalm 16:8-11. 

Lenski - Dio Cassius 64, 14 reports that it (David's tomb) fell into ruins during Hadrian’s reign in the year 133, after which it is no longer heard of. It was at Jerusalem—mute but incontrovertible evidence that Ps. 16 was not fulfilled in David. David’s body saw corruption. It was dust. (Borrow the interpretation of the acts of the apostles)

New American Commentary - The site of David’s tomb mentioned in v. 29 is no longer certain but was probably on the south side of the southeast hill of Jerusalem near the pool of Siloam.

Josephus said that John Hyrcanus looted the tomb of 3,000 talents of silver during the siege of Jerusalem in 135/134 B.C. and that Herod attempted the same. According to Josephus, Herod’s attempt was thwarted when two of his men were killed by a sudden burst of flame upon entering the tomb. Having second thoughts, Herod abandoned the project and built a white marble portico over the tomb.

Here is the note from Josephus Ant. XVI. 7.1

 As for Herod, he had spent vast sums about the cities, both without and within his own Kingdom. And as he had before heard that Hyrcanus, who had been King before him, had opened David’s sepulchre, and taken out of it three thousand talents of silver;5 and that there was a much greater number left behind; and indeed enow to suffice all his wants; he had a great while an intention to make the attempt. And at this time he opened that sepulchre by night, and went into it; and endeavoured that it should not be at all known in the city; but took only his most faithful friends with him. As for any money, he found none, as Hyrcanus had done: but that furniture of gold, and those precious goods that were laid up there. All which he took away. However, he had a great desire to make a more diligent search, and to go farther in, even as far as the very bodies of David and Solomon. Where two of his guards were slain, by a flame that burst out upon those that went in; as the report was. So he was terribly affrighted, and went out; and built a propitiatory monument of that fright he had been in; and this of white stone; at the mouth of the sepulchre: and that at great expence also. And even Nicolaus his historiographer makes mention of this monument built by Herod: though he does not mention his going down into the sepulchre: as knowing that action to be of ill repute.

Robertson - The tomb was said to have fallen into ruins in the time of the Emperor Hadrian. Josephus Ant. XVI. 7.1 attributes most of the misfortunes of Herod's family to the fact that he tried to rifle the tomb of David. (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

Acts 2:30   "And so, because he was a prophet and knew that GOD HAD SWORN TO HIM WITH AN OATH TO SEAT one OF HIS DESCENDANTS ON HIS THRONE,

KJV Acts 2:30 Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne;

  • because he was a prophet Acts 1:16; 2 Sa 23:2; Mt 27:35; Mark 12:36; Luke 24:44; He 3:7; 4:7; 2 Peter 1:21
  • knew that GOD  2 Sa 7:11-16; 1 Chr 17:11-15; Ps 89:3,4,19-37; 110:1-5; 132:11-18; Ro 1:3; 2 Ti 2:8; He 7:1,2,21
  • Had sworn to him with an oath - Heb 6:17
  • he Ps 2:6-12; 72:1-19; Isa 7:14; 9:6,7; Jer 23:5,6; 33:14,15; Amos 9:11,12; Micah 5:2; Luke 1:31-33,69,70; 2:10,11; John 18:36,37; Ro 15:12; Rev 17:14; 19:16
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

In Acts 2:25-36 Peter presents five (some say four) proofs for the resurrection of the Christ, the Messiah:

  1. The prophecy of David (Acts 2:25–28 quoting Ps 16:8-11).
  2. The testimony of Peter (Acts 2:29–31 alluding to Ps 132:11 and 2 Sa 7:12-13).
  3. The eye-witnesses (Acts 2:32).
  4. The supernatural events of Pentecost (Acts 2:33)
  5. The exaltation and ascension of Jesus, David's "greater Son" (Acts 2:34–35 - quoting Ps 110:1).


And so, because he was a prophet - From David the patriarch Peter now moves to David the prophet. David could not have been mistaken in his psalm. He spoke as God's "mouthpiece," not of himself. What David recorded, God had said "for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God." (2 Pe 1:21+

Prophet (4396)(prophetes from próphemi = literally to tell beforehand in turn from pró = before, forth, on behalf of + phemí = speak) is primarily a forth-teller or one who speaks out God’s message, primarily to their own generation, usually always calling the people to God's truth for them at that moment, often using the phrase "Thus saith the Lord." Predicting future events (foretelling) generally was secondary to a prophet's work of forth-telling. When they functioned as predictors, the Biblical prophets foretold the future with 100 percent accuracy. 

And knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on His Throne - God is the ultimate Promise Keeper! David prophetically declared that God had promised to seat one of his descendants on his throne, which is clearly referring to Jesus, the Messiah, the Son of David, the "greater David." In other words, David knew that the Messiah would come through his line, be one of his descendants and sit upon his throne. Therefore, what David was doing was predicting the resurrection of Christ. The prophecy referred to Jesus and His resurrection.

One of his descendants - More literally "fruit of loins" - Fruit (2590karpos and Loins (3751osphus

NET Note on one of his descendants -  "one from the fruit of his loins." "Loins" is the traditional translation of osphus, referring to the male genital organs. A literal rendering like "one who came from his genital organs" would be regarded as too specific and perhaps even vulgar by many contemporary readers. Most modern translations thus render the phrase "one of his descendants."

Knew (1492)(eido) means to know beyond a shadow of a doubt. Eido refers to a perception, a being aware of, an understanding, an intuitive knowledge which in the case of believers can only be given by the Holy Spirit. David knew beyond doubt that this God's oath would be fulfilled.

Sworn (3660)(omnuo) means to affirm the veracity of one’s statement by invoking a transcendent entity, in this case God's oath is based on Himself. 

John Phillips on seat one of his descendants on His Throne - "Christ had been crucified and not crowned; so how could He be David's Sovereign? Had the prophecy failed? How could He sit upon David's throne? The logic was inescapable. The resurrection was all part of the divine plan. That was the force of the prophecy of Psalm 16. David had seen it. Now they must see it. The Lord Jesus was God's one and only Savior, whether for David, them, or us.

Here is what David knew (aka the "Davidic Covenant") -- " even from the day that I commanded judges to be over My people Israel; and I will give you rest from all your enemies. The LORD also declares to you that the LORD will make a house for you. 12 “When your days are complete and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your descendant after you, who will come forth from you, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 “He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 “I will be a father to him and he will be a son to Me; when he commits iniquity, I will correct him with the rod of men and the strokes of the sons of men, 15 but My lovingkindness shall not depart from him, as I took it away from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 “Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.”’ (2 Samuel 7:11-16)

Related Resource:

Acts 2:31 he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that HE WAS NEITHER ABANDONED TO HADES, NOR DID His flesh SUFFER DECAY.

KJV Acts 2:31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.

  • he looked ahead  1 Peter 1:11,12
  • and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ Acts 2:27; 13:35; Ps 16:10
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

In Acts 2:25-36 Peter presents five (some say four) proofs for the resurrection of the Christ, the Messiah:

  1. The prophecy of David (Acts 2:25–28 quoting Ps 16:8-11).
  2. The testimony of Peter (Acts 2:29–31 alluding to Ps 132:11 and 2 Sa 7:12-13).
  3. The eye-witnesses (Acts 2:32).
  4. The supernatural events of Pentecost (Acts 2:33)
  5. The exaltation and ascension of Jesus, David's "greater Son" (Acts 2:34–35 - quoting Ps 110:1).


He looked ahead - He of course refers to David the king of Israel, who was also a prophet of Israel and spoke by divine revelation and inspiration.

And spoke of the resurrection of the Christ - Peter's logic is "air tight" -- The resurrection of Jesus is based on the covenant promise that God unconditionally swore to David (2 Samuel 7:11-16 = Davidic covenant) alluded to in the previous passage. An eternal kingdom demands an eternal King, not a dead one! David is dead! Christ is alive forevermore! Hallelujah! Amen!

Robertson - This is a definite statement by Peter that David knew that in Psalm 16 he was describing the resurrection of the Messiah.(ED: While that might be true Peter tells us that many of the prophets did not fully understand what they were saying (1 Pe 1:10-12), but that is immaterial, because Peter knew of Whom David had prophesied). (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

Stott adds "We need not therefore assert that David was making a deliberate and conscious prophecy of the resurrection of Jesus which was fully intelligible to himself. It is enough to say that, caught up by the Spirit of prophecy, he was led to write words about the conquest of death and the fulness of life and joy in the presence of God, which would be finally fulfilled not in his own experience but in that of his illustrious descendant.”

Christ (Messiah)(5547)(Christos from chrio = to rub or anoint, consecrate to an office) means one who has been anointed, symbolizing appointment to a task. Christ is equivalent to the term Messiah. While the Greek word for Messiah occurs only twice in the NT (Jn 1:41, Jn 4:25). The NAS translates Christos as Christ (516x), Christ's (11x) and Messiah (4x - Mt 1:1, 16, 17, 2:4). The NIV and ESV never translate Christos as Messiah. The Holman Christian Standard Bible has an interesting approach and translates Christos as Messiah many times (e.g., Mt 16:16HCSB, Lk 2:11HCSB, etc) depending on the context (see explanatory note) The NLT paraphrase translates Christos as Messiah over 80 times.

Here are the HCSB and NLT translations of Acts 2:31:

David was looking into the future and speaking of the Messiah's resurrection. He was saying that God would not leave him among the dead or allow his body to rot in the grave. (Act 2:31NLT)

Seeing this in advance, he spoke concerning the resurrection of the Messiah: He was not left in Hades, and His flesh did not experience decay. (Act 2:31HCSB)

Related Resource:

NET Note on Christos - The term (christos) was originally an adjective ("anointed"), developing in LXX into a substantive ("an anointed one"), then developing still further into a technical generic term ("the anointed one"). In the intertestamental period it developed further into a technical term referring to the hoped-for anointed one, that is, a specific individual. In the NT the development starts there (technical-specific), is so used in the gospels, and then develops in Paul's letters to mean virtually Jesus' last name.

He was neither abandoned to Hades nor did His flesh suffer decay - Peter is repeating the truth of Ps 16:10. 

John MacArthur - Peter's argument from Psalm 16 can be summarized as follows: The psalm speaks of a resurrection. Since David, however, was not resurrected, it cannot speak of him. Thus, David speaks in the psalm of the Messiah. Hence, Messiah will rise from the dead. Peter now delivers his powerful conclusion: This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. The argument is conclusive: Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Acts)

Acts 2:32   "This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses.

KJV Acts 2:32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.

  • to which we are all witnesses Acts 2:24; 1:8,22; 3:15; 4:33; 5:31,32; 10:39-41; Luke 24:46-48; John 15:27; John 20:26-31
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

In Acts 2:25-36 Peter presents five (some say four) proofs for the resurrection of the Christ, the Messiah:

  1. The prophecy of David (Acts 2:25–28 quoting Ps 16:8-11).
  2. The testimony of Peter (Acts 2:29–31 alluding to Ps 132:11 and 2 Sa 7:12-13).
  3. The eye-witnesses (Acts 2:32).
  4. The supernatural events of Pentecost (Acts 2:33)
  5. The exaltation and ascension of Jesus, David's "greater Son" (Acts 2:34–35 - quoting Ps 110:1).


This Jesus God raised up again - Peter repeats the Name Jesus (first in Acts 2:22) speaking truth about Him that must have shocked his hearers. Once again Peter emphasizes the role of God the Father in the redemption story, bringing about the resurrection of His Son, clear evidence that He accepted the Son's sacrificial death. Several times in the NT we see that God the Father resurrected His Son (Acts 2:24; 10:40; 17:31; 1 Co 6:14; Eph 1:20).

Kistemaker on this Jesus - Three times in his Pentecost sermon he emphatically points to Jesus as this Jesus (see Acts 2:23, 32, 36) to recall for his audience their knowledge of and acquaintance with Jesus of Nazareth (Acts 3:22).

Raised up again (450) see anistemi. The fact that God raised Jesus signifies that He approved on Christ's work on the Cross! 

Guzik - Jesus of Nazareth, the man they all knew (as you yourselves also know, Acts 2:22), was the one who fulfilled this prophetic Psalm. How did Peter know this? He saw the resurrected Jesus! The basic evidence of the resurrection was simply the report of reliable eyewitnesses (Acts 2 Commentary)

Paul Apple - God raised Him up again! Resurrection is key to our personal Christian faith and witness to others. Think of the Humpty Dumpty nursery rhyme: Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king's horses and all the king's men. Couldn't put Humpty together again. How about the power of God to put your life back together – in fact to impart new spiritual life; in fact to raise your body from the dead and grant you eternal existence in the presence of God? Illustration: We have a lot of "Jigsaw Christians" these days: Every time they're faced with problems, they go to pieces. Has Jesus made you whole? Are you living a life of joy and hope? Illustration: "There are no hopeless situations; there are only people who have grown hopeless about them." (Clare Boothe Luce) Play the trump card as you witness to others about the resurrected and reigning Lord Jesus Christ. There is no answer to the reality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. (The Spread of the Gospel)

Phil Newton: But God Raised Him Up Again = The resurrection of Jesus Christ tends to make many religious and not-so-religious people squirm or even angry. Consider what the resurrection implies: Jesus Christ, the Son of God was indeed crucified, and then in three days was bodily resurrected; that puts Him in a unique category among all humanity (He must be who He claims to be-God Incarnate); that also demands response to His call for repentance and faith. If the bodily resurrection is true then everything that Jesus Christ and His followers claimed concerning Him has validity. The gospel message is then, the most important truth for every person. The certainty of the resurrection, therefore, will not let men ignore or slide by their need for faith in Christ. ( God Raised Him Up Again)

To which we are all witnesses - Here we see the convergence of the witness of the OT Scriptures and the witness of the witnesses! All the apostles and in fact all of the 120 disciples present with him. Recall that the 11 apostles took their stand with Peter (Acts 2:14+) and probably were nodding in agreement as Peter uttered these words! 

On several occasions in Acts the apostles alluded to the fact that they were witnesses of the resurrected Christ (Acts 2:32; 3:15; 5:30; 10:39–41; 13:30–34, Acts 17:31). Clearly it is a truth God wants us to proclaim! Have you spoken with anyone about the resurrection of Jesus Christ this past week...month...year...decade...ever?

Scott Bayles - When Peter said “we are all witnesses,” he probably waved him arm, indicating the other eleven Apostles. The Law of Moses said that “The facts of the case must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses” (Deuteronomy 19:15NLT+). The case for Christ was established not by just two or three witnesses, but twelve men and at least a half dozen women (ED: I THINK THE NUMBER IS 120 WITNESSES!). Peter’s audience was looking, but at twelve men of unimpeachable character who personally had nothing to gain and everything to lose by preaching Jesus Christ. Even if you reject the miracles, the prophesies and everything else the Bible says, you’ve still got to deal with the testimony of twelve men who say they saw Jesus come back from the dead. They believed it with all their hearts and they died for their belief. How else can we explain that? (From Bible Outlines)

Witnesses (3144)(martus/martys) describes one who remembers something and testifies concerning what they remember. Thus martus has a two fold meaning of (1) describing one who has seen and/or experienced something or someone and (2) one who testifies to what he or she saw. The testimony could be in a legal setting (Mk 14:63; Acts 6:13; 7:58; Heb. 10:28) or in the general sense of recounting firsthand knowledge (Lk 11:48; 1Ti. 6:12; Heb 12:1; 1Pe 5:1).

martus is especially an "eye witness" which is what Peter is saying in this verse.  

Jesus appeared at least ten times after His resurrection before He ascended into heaven. There were apparently many more appearances not recorded (see Jn. 20:30–31; 21:25). 1 Cor 15

  1. He appeared to Mary Magdalene (Mk. 16:9–11; Jn. 20:11–18).
  2. He appeared to the women running to tell the disciples about the empty tomb (Mt. 28:8–10).
  3. He appeared to Peter, probably to assure him of his restoration (Lu. 24:34; 1 Co. 15:5).
  4. He appeared to the two Emmaus disciples sometime in the early evening (Mk. 16:12; Lu. 24:13–42).
  5. He appeared to the disciples with Thomas absent (Mk. 16:14; Lu. 24:36–43; Jn. 20:19–25).
  6. One week later, He appeared to the disciples who had gone fishing (Jn. 20).
  7. He appeared to 500 believers most of whom remain until now (1 Co. 15:6).
  8. He appeared to the apostles (Mt. 28:16–20; Mk. 16:15–18).
  9. He appeared to James, the Lord’s half-brother (1 Co. 15:7).
  10. He appeared to the believers at His ascension (Mk. 16:19–20; Lu. 24:44–53; Ac. 1:3–12).

It should be remembered that since Jesus’ ascension He has appeared at least two other times.

  1. He appeared to Stephen at his martyrdom (Acts 7:55–56).
  2. He appeared to Paul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:3-7).

Paul Apple gives a good summary of Peter's sermon up to this point - Four parts  (The Spread of the Gospel)
(1) Acts 2:1-4 The Experience of the Coming of the Holy Spirit in Power

  • Startling – came suddenly – even though they were obediently waiting in Jerusalem - Impressive and Powerful – sound like a rushing wind; tongues of fire - Two powerful forces of nature that spread rapidly

  • Personally and Profoundly Life Changing
  • Impactful on Others

Acts 2:5-13 The Explanation by the Assembled Crowd of Foreign Jews

  • Communication in known foreign languages regarding the mighty deeds of God - Varying initial reactions – Amazed, Astonished, Perplexed, Mocking . . .

Acts 2:14-24 The Supernatural Explanation rendered by God’s spokesman the Apostle Peter

  • Consistent with OT Prophecy – Joel 2 – “this is that” – not complete fulfillment - Authenticating the Messianic credentials of Jesus

   -- His Life = Attested to by God with miracles and wonders and signs
   -- His Death = no surprise but part of God’s sovereign, predetermined plan
   -- His Resurrection = key; Death could not hold Jesus; God raised Him up

Acts 2:22-32 Three Dramatic Implications of the Resurrection

  • Puts God’s Stamp of Authentication on Jesus the Nazarene as the promised Messiah
  • Transformed Death into a Doorway to a Joyful and Hopeful Eternal Outcome
  • The Resurrection of the Messiah was Anticipated by OT Prophecy, Accomplished by God and now Attested to by Many Witnesses

Acts 2:33 "Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.

KJV Acts 2:33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

  • Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God Acts 5:31; Ps 89:19,24; 118:16,22,23; Isa 52:13; 53:12; Mt 28:18; Mark 16:19; John 17:5; Eph 1:20-23; Php 2:9-11; He 1:2-4; 10:12; 1 Peter 1:21; 3:22
  • having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit -  Acts 1:4; Luke 24:49; John 7:38,39; Jn 14:16,26; 15:26; 16:7-15
  • He has poured forth this which you both see and hear -  Acts 2:17,38,39; 10:45; Ro 5:5; Eph 4:8; Titus 3:6
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

In Acts 2:25-36 Peter presents five (some say four) proofs for the resurrection of the Christ, the Messiah:

  1. The prophecy of David (Acts 2:25–28 quoting Ps 16:8-11).
  2. The testimony of Peter (Acts 2:29–31 alluding to Ps 132:11 and 2 Sa 7:12-13).
  3. The eye-witnesses (Acts 2:32).
  4. The supernatural events of Pentecost (Acts 2:33)
  5. The exaltation and ascension of Jesus, David's "greater Son" (Acts 2:34–35 - quoting Ps 110:1).


Peter now answers the question posed by F F Bruce "But where was He now, if He was raised from the dead?" 

Messiah's Ascension is a necessary sequel to His Resurrection and the precursor of His exaltation and His subsequent pouring out of the Spirit at Pentecost.

Peter describes ascension he had personally witnessed.

And after He (JESUS) had said these things, He was lifted up while they were looking on, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10 And as they were gazing intently into the sky while He was going, behold, two men in white clothing stood beside them. 11 They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:9-11+

And as Lenski says "Right here and now Peter’s hearers were both seeing and hearing the great effects of the resurrection of Jesus, the miracles of Pentecost. They reveal what the resurrection involved -- the exaltation of the risen Jesus, His pouring out the spirit, the miraculous evidence of which all were seeing and hearing. Peter thus goes straight to his goal: he lays up stone on stone with perfect, swift mastery until the arch is complete." (Borrow the interpretation of the acts of the apostles)

Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God - Remember Peter is defending the resurrection and here he points out that He could hardly have sent the Spirit which they had seen and heard had He not been resurrected and exalted. 

It is notable that the first words in the Greek sentence are "the right" (there is no word for "hand" in Greek) which emphasizes Jesus' position of prestige, power and authority. 

F F Bruce explains that the right hand of God is "the place of supremacy over the universe, in fulfillment of His (JESUS) own assurance to His judges (CAIAPHAS, ET AL): “But from now on THE SON OF MAN WILL BE SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND of the power OF GOD” (Luke 22:69+).

ILLUSTRATION -  Reading book by George Stephanopoulos – knew what a privilege it was to serve at the right hand of the most powerful man in the world – the President of the United States – Bill Clinton -- “All Too Human – A Political Education”. Stephanopoulos wrote “When it comes to White House offices, it’s not the size that counts. Location, location, location. Proximity, like celebrity, is a source and sign of power. The closer you are to the president, the more people believe he listens to you. The more people believe he listens to you, the more information flows your way. The more information flows your way, the more the president listens to you. The more the president listens to you, the more power you have.” Think of the power of Jesus at the right hand of God. (Paul Apple The Spread of the Gospel)

Having been exalted (lifted up) (5312)(hupsoo from hupsos = height, elevation) is used here not only literally to describe the lifting up of Jesus spatially  (Acts 1:9) but also with the figurative means of His being lifted up to the place of highest honor, foremost fame, greatest power, and peerless position!

And it is fascinating that this same verb hupsoo describes His crucifixion for He prophesied to Nicodemus that “As Moses lifted up (hupsoo) the serpent in the wilderness (Nu 21:5-9), even so must the Son of Man be lifted up (hupsoo) (Jn 3:14,cf hupsoo again with identical meaning in Jn 12:32-33). In short, because Jesus was lifted up on Calvary's Cross, He was lifted up to God's right hand! Glory! Hallelujah! Amen!

Gotquestions has an excellent summary of the significance of Jesus' Ascension...

1) It signaled the end of His earthly ministry. God the Father had lovingly sent His Son into the world at Bethlehem, and now the Son was returning to the Father. The period of human limitation was at an end.

2) It signified success in His earthly work. All that He had come to do, He had accomplished.

3) It marked the return of His heavenly glory. Jesus' glory had been veiled during His sojourn on earth, with one brief exception at the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-9).

4) It symbolized His exaltation by the Father (Ephesians 1:20-23). The One with Whom the Father is well pleased (Matthew 17:5) was received up in honor and given the Name above all names (Philippians 2:9).

5) It allowed Him to prepare a place for us (John 14:2).

6) It indicated the beginning of His new work as High Priest (Hebrews 4:14-16) and Mediator of the New Covenant (Hebrews 9:15).

7) It set the pattern for His return. When Jesus comes to set up the Kingdom, He will return just as He left-literally, bodily, and visibly in the clouds (Acts 1:11; Daniel 7:13-14; Matthew 24:30; Revelation 1:7).

Currently, the Lord Jesus is in heaven. The Scriptures frequently picture Him at the right hand of the Father-a position of honor and authority (Psalm 110:1; Ephesians 1:20; Hebrews 8:1). Christ is the Head of the Church (Colossians 1:18), the giver of spiritual gifts (Ephesians 4:7-8), and the One who fills all in all (Ephesians 4:9-10).

Warren Wiersbe summarizes Peter's logic in this section - If the Holy Spirit is in the world, then God must have sent Him. Joel promised that one day the Spirit would come, and Jesus Himself had promised to send the gift of the Holy Spirit to His people (Luke 24:49; John 14:26; 15:26; Acts 1:4). But if Jesus is dead, He cannot send the Spirit; therefore, He must be alive. Furthermore, He could not send the Spirit unless He had returned to heaven to the Father (John 16:7); so, Jesus has ascended to heaven! To back up this statement, Peter quoted Psalm 110:1, a verse that certainly could not be applied to David. (Bible Exposition Commentary)

Kistemaker explains "Because Peter’s audience had not seen Jesus in the forty-day period between his resurrection and ascension, they needed proof that what the eyewitnesses proclaimed was true. Therefore, they wanted to know the relationship between Jesus’ resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit. To meet the questions of his audience, Peter alludes to Jesus’ ascension and mentions Christ’s place at the right hand of God (compare Acts 5:31)....From his exalted position, Jesus has fulfilled the promise that the Father would send the Holy Spirit (refer to John 7:39; 14:26; 15:26). On the day of Pentecost Jesus’ words concerning the coming of the Spirit are being fulfilled. Consequently, everyone present at the temple area in Jerusalem is able to see the evidence of the outpouring of the Spirit. The listeners must know, therefore, that Jesus, seated at the right hand of God, has the authority to commission the Spirit to come and live in the hearts of the believers." (Baker NT Commentary - Acts)

And having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit - Again we see the Father actively involved in the plan of redemption. In fact, in this passage we see all three Members of the Trinity interacting in perfect harmony. 

In the Gospel of Luke Jesus had instructed the disciples...

“And behold, I (JESUS) am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you (Jn 14:16, 26); but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.” (Lk 24:49+)

Jesus had spoken of the promise of the Spirit in Acts 1

Gathering them together, He commanded them (THE ELEVEN) not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised (THE HOLY SPIRIT), “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; (Acts 1:4+) (And they had obediently waited and on the 10th day the promise was fulfilled. Beloved, the surest way to receive God's blessings is to be sure to walk in obedience to His Word and by His Spirit! [Gal 5:16+])! 

Promise (1860)(epaggelia/epangelia) originally meant an announcement or declaration but later came to mean promise or assurance (Acts 23.21) and in Scripture (as in the current passage) speaks predominately of God's pronouncements that provide assurance of what He will do. He had promised the Holy Spirit, and here on the feast day of Pentecost, He keeps His promise by giving it to His Son to pour out His Spirit. This reminds us of the passage by Paul "For all the promises of God in Him (CHRIST) are yea, and in Him Amen, unto the glory of God by us." (2 Cor 1:20KJV).

John Phillips - The coming of the Holy Spirit was the crowning proof. Jesus was not only alive from the dead by the power of God's hand, but He was now seated at the right hand of power in heaven. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit, long since foretold by Joel, was the proof that Jesus was now seated in the glory. He was the One who had thus sent the Holy Spirit to usher in a new age of grace. Instead of sending down wrath from heaven, He had sent down the Holy Spirit, and in such a way and on such a day as fulfilled the age-old symbols of Pentecost. (Exploring Acts)

He has poured forth this which you both see and hear - He is clearly the Lord Jesus. You both see and hear indicates that the out pouring of the Spirit was undeniable. They saw tongues like fire and they heard a sound like a mighty rushing wind and the disciples speaking in tongues, recognizable foreign languages.

Peter explains that what the Jewish audience had seen and heard was the work of the risen, ascended Jesus, Who had prophetically promised He would send His Spirit to the disciples. In other words, the pouring forth of the Holy Spirit was dependent on the ascension of Jesus.

“When the Helper comes, Whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me, (Jn 15:26)

“But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him to you. (Jn 16:7)

Poured forth (1632)(see note above on ekcheo) - In Acts 2:17 Peter quoted Joel's prophecy that the Spirit will be poured out (future tense) and here he uses the aorist tense indicating it has happened and that Jesus is the One Who accomplished the pouring forth of the Spirit. Stated another way, the outpouring of the Spirit was evidence that Jesus was actually exalted at the Father's right hand.

Note that in Peter's quote from Joel in Acts 2:17+ he says it was God saying that He was the One Who will pour forth His Spirit on all mankind, and now in Acts 2:33 Peter says it is Jesus Who poured forth the Spirit. Comparing these two passages what is the obvious conclusion? Jesus in Acts 2:33 is God in Acts 2:17. Jesus is God

Now let us apply this truth - The facts are that Jesus is at the right hand of God, directing the affairs of His Body, the church through His "Chief Operating Officer," the Holy Spirit Whom He has poured out on us in abundance. Dear pastor, would you say your Church (part of His Body) is a Spirit Filled Church? Dear believer, is your life Spirit filled, figuratively like an Artesian Well?

Spurgeon - Was not that enough to convince them? They saw and they heard the proofs of the working of the Spirit among them, and Peter told them that “this” was the gift of Christ, who had ascended up on high. It must have been a very striking thing, to have been there, and to have heard and seen these tokens of God setting His seal to the work of Jesus.

Piper - So you see, the real issue the Charismatics raise for us is not the issue of tongues. In itself that is relatively unimportant. The really valuable contribution of the Charismatic renewal is their relentless emphasis on the truth that receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit is a real, life-changing experience. Christianity is not merely an array of glorious ideas. It is not merely the performance of rituals and sacraments. It is the life-changing experience of the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ the Lord of the universe. (Ed: While I agree with Piper, it seems that the association of the Spirit with some of the negative or more "showy" aspects of the Charismatic Movement has sadly led many in the Bible based evangelical churches to minimize the role of and necessity for daily dependence upon the Holy Spirit. And this is not just sad, but it is tragic, because it saps the Body of Christ of the power that Jesus intended it to possess byt the sending of His Spirit! We in Bible centered churches need to swing the "pendulum" back to its doctrinal center! Bible yes! Spirit yes! Both are necessary for the work of ministry - cf 2 Cor 3:5-6+) (How to Receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit)

Acts 2:34   "For it was not David who ascended into heaven, but he himself says: 'THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD, "SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND,

KJV Acts 2:34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,

  • The Lord said to my Lord "Sit at my right hand" -  Ps 110:1; Mt 22:42-45; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42,43; 1 Cor 15:25; Eph 1:22; He 1:13
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

In Acts 2:25-36 Peter presents five (some say four) proofs for the resurrection of the Christ, the Messiah:

  1. The prophecy of David (Acts 2:25–28 quoting Ps 16:8-11).
  2. The testimony of Peter (Acts 2:29–31 alluding to Ps 132:11 and 2 Sa 7:12-13).
  3. The eye-witnesses (Acts 2:32).
  4. The supernatural events of Pentecost (Acts 2:33)
  5. The exaltation and ascension of Jesus, David's "greater Son" (Acts 2:34–35 - quoting Ps 110:1).


Peter had proven from Psalm 16:8-11 that David had prophesied of Messiah's resurrection (Acts 2:27). Now Peter quotes Psalm 110:1 to prove that David also had prophesied of Messiah's ascension and exaltation to the right hand of God. 

As an aside Psalm 110:1 is used in the New Testament more than any other OT passage, being either directly quoted or alluded to some 25 times. Psalm 110 was accepted by the Jews as prophecy concerning the Messiah, as shown in the discourse between Jesus and the Jews in (Mt 22:41-45, 46). In that section Jesus interpreted Psalm 110:1 as referring to Messiah, "son of David," and the Jews did not dispute His interpretation.

For - term of explanation. What is Peter explaining? Peter has just described the pouring out of the Spirit (Acts 2:33 "He [Messiah] has poured forth this which you both see and hear") and now explains how that was possible. It order to pour out the Spirit, the Messiah had to be in Heaven. And so Peter uses Ps 110:1 to prove that the Messiah was in Heaven. As Adam Clarke says "David is not ascended - Consequently, he has not sent forth this extraordinary gift, but it comes from his Lord."

It was not David who ascended into heaven - First Peter makes the statement that it was not David who was exalted to the right hand of God. Remember he has already "confidently" stated that David died and was buried and they could even see his tomb (Acts 2:29+). But now Peter quotes from Ps 110:1 as proof that David had not ascended in heaven.

As Knowing says "Peter does not demand belief upon his own assertion, but he again appeals to the Scriptures, and to words which could not have received a fulfillment in the case of David."

As an aside, although Peter does not use the following argument, we know from other Scriptures that David could not have ascended into heaven because the bodies of the OT saints had not yet been resurrected. As 1 Kings 2:10 says "Then David slept with his fathers and was buried in the city of David." The implication is that his body is still in the city of David. See note below regarding when David's body will be resurrected.

But he himself says - David's own testimony is Ps 110:1 which removes all doubt that he is speaking not about himself but about the Messiah. This reminds us of the words in Acts 8:34 "The eunuch answered Philip and said, “Please tell me, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself or of someone else?”"

The Lord said to my Lord "Sit at my right hand" - The Eternal Father speaks to the Eternal Son. Peter is quoting from Ps 110:1 which reads "A Psalm of David. The LORD (Jehovah/Yahweh) says to my Lord (Adonay): “Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” In other words, Jehovah told David's Lord (Messiah) to sit beside Him and rule and He (Jehovah) would subdue Messiah's enemies. Note that while Psalm 110:1 does not say "ascension" or "He ascended" the clear inference of the fact that the Father tells Him to sit at His right hand is that the Messiah had indeed ascended to Heaven. 

Sit at my right hand - This was a common Oriental expression for sharing power and sovereignty. Compare the request of the mother of James and John when she desired places of influence for her sons in the future Messianic Kingdom, which she rightly supposed would be an earthly one (Mt 20:21 "one on Your right and one on Your left").

Notice also that while Psalm 110:1 explains how Jesus could have poured forth the Spirit, it also demonstrates that Messiah is not just a human being, but is in fact God. In essence Peter is affirming the mysterious truth that the Messiah, the "blasphemer" (the final accusation against Him - Mt 26:65-66), was not only Man but also God. He had been accused of blaspheming God, but here Peter shows He was in fact God and thus not guilty of the sin of blasphemy. 

While it is somewhat speculative, it is very possible that Peter learned from the Master Teacher how to use Psalm 110:1 to prove the deity of the Messiah, for in all three synoptic Gospels (Mt. 22:43-44; Mk 12:35-37; Lk 20:41-42) Jesus used Psalm 110:1 to prove that Messiah was not just a man (Son of David) but was God (Son of God). Why was this so significant? The Jews in Jesus day thought that while the Messiah would be a Son of David, they did not teach that He would be God. The Jewish leaders had misinterpreted their own Scriptures! And Jesus proved they were in error and that they should have known had they only read the OT Scriptures carefully and without preconceived ideas concerning the Messiah. Of course, another reason of course that the Jews did not attribute Deity to the Messiah was because of their belief in monotheism and their inability to comprehend the nature of the Trinity. Below is the passage from Mark 12 which Peter would have heard Jesus use to demonstrate the error of the Jewish teaching that Messiah was only a man, not God.

And Jesus began to say, as He taught in the temple, “How is it that the scribes say that the Christ (MESSIAH) is the son of David? (ED They were correct in teaching Messiah would be the son of David. But they did not believe He would be God.” Keep in mind that Jesus' lineage from David was incontestable and the Jewish leaders knew it! Jesus' argument is if the Messiah is no more than a man how can David say what he said in Psalm 110:1? How can he call Him "Lord" or Adonay in Hebrew?) 36 “David himself said in the Holy Spirit (INSPIRATION), ‘THE LORD SAID TO MY LORD (ED In the Hebrew text Jehovah is speaking to Adonay indicating He is God), “SIT AT MY RIGHT HAND (ED Indicating Messiah is coequal with Jehovah and this is the second indication in this Psalm that Messiah is God.), UNTIL I PUT YOUR ENEMIES BENEATH YOUR FEET.”’ 37 “David himself calls Him ‘Lord’; so in what sense is He his son?” (IN OTHER WORDS HOW COULD DAVID'S SON ALSO BE DAVID'S LORD? THE RELIGIOUS LEADERS COULD NOT ANSWER. WHAT IS THE ANSWER? HE IS DAVID'S SON FROM THE LINE OF DAVID, BUT IF HE IS DAVID'S LORD, HE IS ALSO GOD!) And the large crowd enjoyed listening to Him (ED BUT 2 DAYS LATER MANY OF THEM WOULD CRY "CRUCIFY, CRUCIFY!"). (Mark 12:35–37)

Expositor's Greek Testament gives us background on Ps 110:1 - The Psalm was always regarded as Messianic by the Jews (Edersheim, Jesus the Messiah, ii., 720 (Appendix); and if it had not been so in the time of our Lord, it is obvious that His argument would have missed its point if those to whom He addressed His question ““How is it that they say the Messiah is David’s son?” (Lk 20:41) could have answered that David was not speaking of the coming Messiah.

NET Note- It was a common belief in Judaism that Messiah would be David's son in that he would come from the lineage of David. On this point the Pharisees agreed and were correct. But their understanding was nonetheless incomplete, for Messiah is also David's Lord. With this statement Jesus was affirming that, as the Messiah, He is both God and Man. 

John MacArthur explains - Jesus' point was that the title "Son of David" alone was not sufficient for the Messiah, that He is also the Son of God. David would not have addressed a merely human descendant as "Lord." Jesus was saying, in effect, "I am not giving you any new teaching or revelation. You should have been able to figure it out for yourselves, and would have done so if you truly believed Scripture." The religious elite of Judaism had never seen that obvious truth, because, like many people today, they did not look to Scripture for truth. When they looked to it at all, it was for the purpose of trying to shore up their humanly devised religious traditions and personal preferences. Jesus did not mention the most important conclusion the Pharisees should have made from what He had just said: that He Himself was the divine Messiah, the Son of David and Son of God. It was unnecessary for Him to do that, because He had been presenting His divine messianic credentials for three years. He had done so many things to prove He was the Son of God that unbelievers had to deny the obvious to conclude anything else. The signs and miracles recorded in the gospels are but a part of the countless others than He performed. "Many other signs therefore Jesus also performed in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book," John tells us; "but these have been written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name" (John 20:30-31; cf. 21:25). (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Matthew)

When Will OT Saints like David be resurrected? I agree with the comment below by I base my opinion on Da 12:13+ which is a promise to Daniel "“But as for you, go your way to the end; then you will enter into rest and rise again for your allotted portion at the end of the age (WE ARE IN THAT AGE NOW - WHEN CHRIST RETURNS THIS AGE ENDS AND THIS PASSAGE SUGGESTS THAT DANIEL WILL RISE).” (See Notes).

Another great resurrection will occur when Christ returns to earth (His Second Coming) at the end of the Tribulation period. After the rapture, the Tribulation is the next event after the Church Age in God’s chronology. This will be a time of terrible judgment upon the world, described in great detail in Revelation chapters 6-18. Though all Church Age believers will be gone, millions of people left behind on earth will come to their senses during this time and will trust in Jesus as their Savior. Tragically, most of them will pay for their faith in Jesus by losing their lives (Revelation 6:9-11; 7:9-17; 13:7, 15-17; 17:6; 19:1-2). These believers in Jesus who die during the Tribulation will be resurrected at Christ’s return and will reign with Him for a thousand years during the Millennium (Revelation 20:4, 6+). Old Testament believers such as Job, Noah, Abraham, David and even John the Baptist (who was assassinated before the Church began) will be resurrected at this time also. (When will the Resurrection take place? |


KJV Acts 2:35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool.

  • Until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet -  Ge 3:15; Joshua 10:24,25; Ps 2:8-12; 18:40-42; 21:8-12; 72:9; Isa 49:23; Isa 59:18; 60:14; 63:4-6; Luke 19:27; 20:16-18; Ro 16:20; Rev 19:19-21; Rev 20:1-3,8-15
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

In Acts 2:25-36 Peter presents five (some say four) proofs for the resurrection of the Christ, the Messiah:

  1. The prophecy of David (Acts 2:25–28 quoting Ps 16:8-11).
  2. The testimony of Peter (Acts 2:29–31 alluding to Ps 132:11 and 2 Sa 7:12-13).
  3. The eye-witnesses (Acts 2:32).
  4. The supernatural events of Pentecost (Acts 2:33)
  5. The exaltation and ascension of Jesus, David's "greater Son" (Acts 2:34–35 - quoting Ps 110:1).


Until - Until is an expression of time and means something will continue to happen up to a point and then something else will happen. In other words, today it looks like the enemies of Jesus are triumphing and that evil is "winning," but that will change on the day when the Father makes the enemies of Jesus to be His footstool. Stated another way Ps 110:1 teaches a "time gap" (see example), a common feature of prophetic writings. It follows that we are currently in the "time gap," aka "the Church age," during which the door of salvation is still open! And this door will remain open....UNTIL...He returns and the door of salvation is closed!

Psalm 2 gives a similar prophetic warning to all the enemies of the Messiah...

Ask of Me (THE FATHER), and I will surely give the nations as Your (THE MESSIAH) inheritance, And the very ends of the earth as Your possession.  9‘You shall break them with a rod of iron, You shall shatter them like earthenware.’”  10 Now therefore, O kings, show discernment; Take warning, O judges of the earth.  11 Worship the LORD with reverence And rejoice with trembling.  12 Do homage to the Son (MESSIAH), that He not become angry, and you perish in the way, For His wrath may soon be kindled. How blessed are all who take refuge in Him! (Ps 2:8-12).

John Phillips asks "And what was the sovereign Lord of David (described in Acts 2:34) doing now that He was seated on the very pinnacle of power? He was waiting for God to make His foes His footstool. So let the Jews not think they had won, that they had rid themselves of Him. They could expect fearful vengeance from the God whose Son they had slain if they persisted in their rejection. All they had done fulfilled prophecy, for David had written in the prophetic word that his Son, his Lord, would have foes who would need to be dealt with from on high. (Exploring Acts)

I make your enemies a footstool for your feet - The reference is to the execution of the Messiah’s enemies including Satan, for as Paul wrote "The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you."( (Ro 16:20+

In Philippians Paul describes the fate of Messiah's enemies...

Being found in appearance as a man, He (JESUS) humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9 For this reason also, God highly exalted Him (cf Acts 2:33-34), and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW (cf Acts 2:35), of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (cf Acts 2:35), to the glory of God the Father. (Php 2:8-11+)

Robertson - This dominion of Christ as Mediator will last till the plan of the kingdom is carried out (1 Cor. 15:23-28). Complete subjugation will come, perhaps referring to the custom of victorious kings placing their feet upon the necks of their enemies (Joshua 10:24). (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

When a defeated enemy was brought before an oriental king, the ruler would make the prisoner bow at his feet and would then place his foot on the neck of the enemy as if he were a footstool. This act is described in the book of Joshua...

When they brought these kings out to Joshua, Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said to the chiefs of the men of war who had gone with him, “Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings.” So they came near and put their feet on their necks. (Joshua 10:24)

Acts 2:36   "Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ--this Jesus whom you crucified."

KJV Acts 2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

  • let all the house of Israel know for certain Jer 2:4; 9:26; 31:31; 33:14; Ezek 34:30; 39:25-29; Zech 13:1; Ro 9:3-6
  • God has made Him both Lord and Christ--this Jesus whom you crucified  Acts 22,23; 4:11,12; 5:30,31; 10:36-42; Ps 2:1-8; Mt 28:18-20; John 3:35,36; 5:22-29; Ro 14:8-12; 2 Cor 5:10; 2 Th 1:7-10
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Therefore - This is a term of conclusion and O what a conclusion it would be! Peter concludes that Jesus is not only the Messiah but He is also God! And they killed Him! The significance of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was the authentication of Jesus as both Lord and Christ. 

John Phillips sums up Peter's sermon - 

  • They had crucified Him, God had crowned Him.
  • They had entombed Him, God had enthroned Him.
  • They had cast Him out, God had caught Him up.
  • They had executed Him, God had exalted Him....

That was the final twist of the Spirit's mighty sword in the guilty souls of those men: "Beware!" (Exploring Acts)

William MacDonald - As Bengel said, “The sting of the speech is put at the end”—THIS JESUS, whom you crucified. They had crucified God’s Anointed One, and the coming of the Holy Spirit was evidence that Jesus had been exalted in heaven (see John 7:39+ "But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified." -- ED NOTE: THE FACT THAT THE SPIRIT HAD BEEN GIVEN ON PENTECOST IS MORE EVIDENCE THAT JESUS HAD BEEN RESURRECTED FROM THE DEAD, FOR HOW COULD HE BE GLORIFIED IF HE NOT BEEN RESURRECTED?). (Borrow Believer's Bible Commentary)

Let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ - Don't misunderstand this statement. Peter is not saying that God the Father will MAKE Jesus something (someone) that He was not before His incarnation. Beloved, Jesus has ALWAYS been Lord and Christ (Messiah), but by His death, resurrection and exaltation the Father "installs" (so to speak) Him in His rightful exalted position before all creation or as Peter says in Acts 10:36 "He is Lord of all!"

It is worth noting that Peter's sermon repeatedly emphasizes the central role of God the Father.

  • Acts 2:17 In the last days God says that I will pour forth of My Spirit
  • Acts 2:22 Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God
  • Acts 2:22 miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst,
  • Acts 2:23 this Man, delivered up by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God,
  • Acts 2:24 God raised Him up again, putting an end to the agony of death,
  • Acts 2:30 God had sworn to David to seat one of his descendants (MESSIAH) upon his throne
  • Acts 2:32 This Jesus God raised up again
  • Acts 2:33 Exalted to the right hand of God
  • Acts 2:33 Received the promise of the Spirit from the Father (only time called Father)
  • Acts 2:36 God has made Him both Lord and Christ.

In fact one might say that Acts 2 is saturated with the doctrine of the Trinity!

Know for certain literally is "for certain know." Certain (aphalos) is the first word in the Greek sentence emphasizing even more the absolute certainty of Peter's dramatic declaration!. His presentation of the evidence that Jesus is the Messiah and the Lord God should leave not a hint of doubt in the minds of his Jewish audience. As we might say today in the courtroom (and in a sense Peter was in a "courtroom" giving his defense of Jesus), Peter declared the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth! The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, of course is ultimately the One Who opened the spiritual eyes of the Jews to turn from darkness to light (Acts 26:18+), enabling them to obey Peter's command to know

Lenski -  Any other deduction is false to both the facts and the prophecies. There can no longer be any doubt about the facts. No room for doubt or uncertainty about who Jesus is. True beyond a shadow of a doubt. They have imagined themselves to be protected by God; bloated in their own self righteousness; looking down with disdain at the Gentiles; holding to a fierce sense of nationalistic pride and prejudice. (Borrow the interpretation of the acts of the apostles)

Know (1097)(ginosko) describes intelligent comprehension and means to come to understand, in this case because of knowledge they had acquired by seeing the signs of the Spirit's arrival and hearing Peter's peerless defense of Jesus as Messiah and God. So Peter is commanding (present imperative) his Jewish audience to Understand, Perceive, Recognize that they had crucified God, the Messiah!

Robertson on know for certain - Assuredly therefore, without any slip or trip (aphales from a privative and sphallō, to trip, to slip. Peter draws a powerfully pungent conclusion by the use of the adverb aphalos and the inferential conjunction oun (therefore). Peter's closing sentence drives home the point of his sermon: "This very Jesus whom ye crucified (note humeis, strongly emphatic ye), Him God made both Lord and Messiah", as David foretold in Psalm 110:1 and as the events of this day have confirmed. The critics are disturbed over how Luke could have gotten the substance of this masterful address spoken on the spur of the moment with passion and power. They even say that Luke composed it for Peter and put the words in his mouth. (RIDICULOUS! HE RECEIVED IT FROM THE SPIRIT VIA INSPIRATION!)  (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

Certain (806)(aphalos from aphales = safe, firm, steady, immovable - anchor in Heb 6:19) is an adverb which literally refers to guarding a prisoner safely or securely (as used in Mk 14:44 and Acts 16:23). Figuratively as used in Acts 2:36 aphalos means definitely, positively, with certainty or without a doubt! Thus aphalos pertains to that which was certain and completely believable or worth being believed.

Both Lord and Christ this Jesus - Peter used the word Lord (kurios) in Acts 2:34 to describe the Messiah in Psalm 110:1 and now he applies kurios to Jesus (Iesous). Peter is saying, based on the evidence of Jesus' life, death, resurrection and exaltation, this Jesus they killed was not simply a man, but in fact was God (Lord) and Messiah (Christ). He had described Him as Messiah (Christ) in Acts 2:31 but now adds that He is Lord

Paul Apple on Lordship of Jesus -  You don’t want Jesus to rule your life?? Then you don’t want Jesus period! You don’t want to be a Christian; you don’t want to be His disciple. Lordship is the only relationship Jesus offers.  (The Spread of the Gospel)

Ray Stedman on LordLord means ruler of all things, king over all men, the One who holds the key to life and death, heaven and hell, in his hands. All power in heaven and in earth is committed unto him. And there is no authority or power that exists which does not take its direction and its limitation from him. "Christ," of course, means "Messiah." We say the words, "Jesus Christ," and many of us think that Jesus is his first name, and Christ his last. But that is not the case. Jesus is His name; Christ is His title. Christ means Messiah -- the promised One, the Deliverer, the only hope that mankind has ever had. Suddenly all this made perfect sense to this multitude. The full force of Peter's arguments thudded home, and they realized that they were in a very precarious position. This One whom he had proven, by indisputable evidence, to be Lord, was the One they had crucified 50 days earlier. (Jesus the Christ)

F F Bruce - He was exalted not only as Messiah, but as Lord. The first apostolic sermon leads up to the first apostolic creed: “Jesus is Lord” (cf. Ro 10:9+; 1 Cor. 12:3; Phil. 2:11+) – “Lord” not only as the bearer of a courtesy title, but as bearer of “the name which is above every name” (Phil. 2:9+). To a Jew, there was only one name “above every name” – the Ineffable Name of the God of Israel, represented in synagogue reading and in the LXX text by the title “Lord.” And that the apostles meant to give Jesus the title “Lord” in this highest sense of all is indicated by the way in which they do not hesitate on occasion to apply to Him passages of OT scripture referring to Jehovah. Indeed, in this very context it may well be that the promise “that whosoever shall call on the name of Jehovah shall be delivered” (Joel 2:32) is viewed as being fulfilled in those members of Peter’s audience who repentantly invoke Jesus as Lord. (NICNT-Acts)

Lord (2962)(kurios) means the supreme one, the owner, the one in control. The Jews would be very familiar with this title as the Name of God for kurios was used in the Septuagint Scriptures in every place the Hebrew Name Jehovah was found. The Jews considered Jehovah or Yahweh too holy to pronounce, and so they substituted the word kurios. It follows that Peter's use of kurios was clearly understood by his Jewish audience as a reference to God.

And not surprisingly, Jesus is referred to as Lord repeatedly in Acts - Acts 4:33; 8:16; 15:11; 16:31; 21:13; 28:31. Do you (I) treat Jesus as "Lord?" I'm not speaking of just mouthing the word "Lord," but actually daily living (enabled by His Spirit) in light of the full orbed significance of all that the word kurios entails!

Christ (5547) (Christos from chrio - to anoint) is the Anointed One and thus is a synonym for Messiah. Jesus as Christ = Messiah = Anointed One = Prophet, Priest, King. 

This Jesus Whom you crucified - Peter does not mince words or hold back, but cuts with a knife to rend open their hard, unbelieving hearts and bring about conviction of sin (which of course ultimately is brought about by the Holy Spirit - cf John 16:7-11).

Note the great paradox -  The Jews wanted Jesus Dead “-- God wanted Him to die also – but for a far different reason; and on a temporary basis!

Crucified (4717)(stauroo from stauros = cross, in turn from histemi = to stand) means literally to nail or fasten to a cross and so to crucify -- literal death by nailing to and hanging from a cross (a stake).

W A Criswell writes that "The death of Christ was the watershed of redemption, as Christ Himself said (Jn 12:27, 32); the resurrection was a proof that God has declared "this Jesus...both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36).

Spurgeon - What a climax to Peter’s sermon! How simple and yet how triumphant is the argument! We do not wonder that men were convinced by it.

Apple - Are you willing to submit to Jesus as both Lord and Christ? There can be no salvation apart from repentance of sin. Do you believe that Christ is right now at the right hand of God the Father and actively exercising power and influence over what happens here on earth and in our lives today? The Head of the Church is actively shepherding His flock. He has poured out the Holy Spirit to give us power and direction in fulfilling the Great Commission He has left for us.  (The Spread of the Gospel)

Darrell Bock - The speech thus shows how God’s activity through Jesus stands at the core of the Christian message. Jesus’s resurrection means far more than merely that there is life after death. It is a vindication of Jesus’s life and mission, a demonstration that Jesus lives and still rules, and a reflection that Jesus is a unique person, sharing the precious presence and glory of God in a unique way. Christ’s death led to Christ’s victory and rule. The reality of the resurrection transformed the apostles from those who were timid to those who were bold to share Jesus with others. Peter also makes clear that the sin of rejecting God’s unique messenger stands at the base of why Jesus had to die and that forgiveness and the Spirit are what the gospel offers, as the next unit will show. The Spirit’s central place in the promise of God also is highlighted here. The Spirit is the evidence that Jesus is raised and reigns with God. The believer’s changed life is a testimony to Jesus’s current activity in the world and enables the mission. So God works through the Son and gives the Spirit. Undergirding the salvation message is the united work of Father, Son, and Spirit. (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the NT - Acts)

The Babushka Lady

Read: Acts 2:22–36 

Let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah. Acts 2:36

The “Babushka Lady” is one of the mysteries surrounding the 1963 assassination of US President John F. Kennedy. Captured on film recording the events with a movie camera, she has proven to be elusive. This mystery woman, wearing an overcoat and scarf (resembling a Russian babushka), has never been identified and her film has never been seen. For decades, historians and scholars have speculated that fear has prevented the “Babushka Lady” from telling her story of that dark November day.  

No speculation is needed to understand why Jesus’s disciples hid. They cowered in fear because of the authorities who had killed their Master (John 20:19)—reluctant to come forward and declare their experience. But then Jesus rose from the grave. The Holy Spirit soon arrived and you couldn’t keep those once-timid followers of Christ quiet! On the day of Pentecost, a Spirit-empowered Simon Peter declared, “Let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah” (Acts 2:36).

Lord, please give me the strength and boldness to talk to others about You.

The opportunity to boldly speak in Jesus’s name is not limited to those with daring personalities or career ministry training. It is the indwelling Spirit who enables us to tell the good news of Jesus. By His strength, we can experience the courage to share our Savior with others.

Lord, please give me the strength and boldness to talk to others about You.

Speak of the matchless love of Christ to those who need to hear.

By Bill Crowder (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Acts 2:37   Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?"

KJV Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

  • Now when they heard this  Acts 5:33; 7:54; Ezek 7:16; Zech 12:10; Luke 3:10; John 8:9; 16:8-11; Ro 7:9; 1 Cor 14:24,25; He 4:12,13
  • Brethren Acts 1:16
  • what shall we do? Acts 9:5,6; 16:29-31; 22:10; 24:25,26
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Tannehill observes that Peter's sermon "‘not only interprets what has happened; it causes something to happen. The audience makes a shattering discovery and is moved to repentance in large numbers."

As C H Spurgeon said “It is idle to attempt to heal those who are not wounded, to attempt to clothe those who have never been stripped, and to make those rich who have never realized their poverty” (Acts 2:39 A Far Reaching Promise).

In his 1892 work "Soul Winner" Spurgeon accentuated the great need for men to first being convicted of sin before they could even truly see their need for a Savior...

Sometimes we are inclined to think that a very great portion of modern revivalism has been more a curse than a blessing, because it has led thousands to a kind of peace before they have known their misery; restoring the prodigal to the Father’s house, and never making him say, ‘Father, I have sinned.’ How can he be healed who is not sick? or he be satisfied with the Bread of Life who is not hungry? The old-fashioned sense of sin is despised and consequently a religion is run up before the foundations are dug out. Everything in this age is shallow. Deep sea fishing is almost an extinct business so far as men’s souls are concerned. The consequence is that men leap into religion and then leap out again (Ed: Like some of the fish I have temporarily had in the boat!). Unhumbled they came to the Church, unhumbled they remain in it, and unhumbled they go from it.” (Woe!) (Bolding added)

Now when they heard this - When the Jews heard that God has made Him both Lord and Christ--this Jesus whom you crucified. Do not miss the critical point that their conviction was wrought by the Spirit when the Word of God was proclaimed. The Word of God is still the method that God uses to bring conviction of sin, so it follows that on one hand, we need to get the Word out and on the other hand realize there will be great resistance to do so, for Satansdoes not want the Word to get out but wants us to use other "evangelistic methods." Satan knows that Martin Luther was right when he wrote "One little Word shall fell him!" (A Mighty Fortress)

They were pierced to the heart - The NAS marginal note has this paraphrase "wounded in conscience." The paradoxical point ("pun intended") is that the Jews who had pierced their own Messiah (Zech 12:10+) were now pierced by as their minds were opened (by Peter's words and the Spirit's work Jn 16:9) to this same Messiah and the devastating truth that they had killed Him! 

Their heart is clearly described in Lk 8:11-15

“Now the parable is this: the seed is the word of God. 12 “Those beside the road are those who have heard; then the devil comes and takes away the word from their heart, so that they will not believe and be saved. 13 “Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation fall away. 14 “The seed which fell among the thorns, these are the ones who have heard, and as they go on their way they are choked with worries and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to maturity. 15 “But the seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.(Lk 8:11-15)

Comment - Note well that their heart was good because of God, not their own effort or merit. Jeremiah 17:9 was crystal clear that "The heart is more deceitful than all else And is desperately sick; Who can understand it?"

Why were they "pierced?" Their eyes were opened to understand their own Messiah had been crucified. They realized that they themselves were convicted as complicit in this greatest of crimes against God! They had (and rightly so) a fear of Messiah's righteous wrath for their sin (cf Acts 2:35+), especially because they had sinned against such a brilliant "Light" (cf Jesus' warning -  Mt 11:21-24, Lk 10:13-14+). And finally they were likely so smitten because they realized that what they had done (crucified the Messiah) could not be undone!

Pierced (2660)(katanusso from kata = intensifies + nusso = to prick, pierce) means to be pricked through, be stabbed, be pricked deeply. Idiomatically katanusso describes "the sharp pain felt in the heart from conviction or remorse" (Friberg). BDAG - "be pierced, stabbed fig., of the feeling of sharp pain connected with anxiety, remorse, etc.  Katanusso is used with heart (kardia) as an idiom which means to "to experience acute emotional distress, implying both concern and regret—‘to be greatly troubled, to be acutely distressed,....deeply troubled." (Louw-Nida). Thayer has "metaphorically, to pain the mind sharply, agitate it vehemently: used especially of the emotion of sorrow; they were smitten in heart with poignant sorrow. "Homer used it of horses dinting the earth with their hoofs." (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2) Vine has this note "primarily, to strike or prick violently, to stun, is used of strong emotion, in Acts 2:37 (Passive Voice), “they were pricked (in their heart).” cp. katanuxis, stupor, torpor of mind, Rom. 11:8."

It is interesting that the related noun katanuxis (2659) is used in Romans 11:8+ (2x in Lxx - Ps 60:3, Isa 29:10) where Paul quotes the OT text from Isaiah 29:10 which says "“GOD GAVE THEM A SPIRIT OF STUPOR (katanuxis), EYES TO SEE NOT AND EARS TO HEAR NOT, DOWN TO THIS VERY DAY!" Katanuxis denotes a senseless mental condition as if in deep sleep which describes Israel's spiritual stupefaction and the tragic inability of Jewish people to even think clearly and rationally about Jesus the Lord and Christ (just watch the reaction you get from a Jewish person at merely the mention of the Name Jesus)! But beloved if you have a Jewish friend (like my former medical practice partner Dr Gerald Jacknow and his wife Karen, both of whom I dearly love and continually pray for God's Spirit to open their blinded spiritual eyes), then be encouraged by watching some of the miraculous personal testimonies of Jewish men and women who Met their Messiah!

Vincent on katanusso - Only here in New Testament. The word does not occur in profane Greek. It is found in the Septuagint, as Genesis 34:7, of the grief of the sons of Jacob at the dishonor of Dinah. See, also, Ps 109:16: "broken in heart."...The radical idea of the word is given in the simple verb nusso, to prick with a sharp point. So Homer, of the puncture of a spear; of horses dinting the earth with their hoofs, etc. Here, therefore, of the sharp, painful emotion, the sting produced by Peter's words. Cicero, speaking of the oratory of Pericles, says that his speech left stings in the minds of his hearers ("De Oratore," iii., 34.) (Word Studies in the New Testament)

It is as if the Spirit empowered, Scripturally centered preaching of Peter had taken Israel's tragic state of stupor (katanuxis) and pierced through that stupor (katanusso) with the powerful Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Katanusso - 19x in 19v in the Septuagint

Ge 27:38; Ge 34:7; Lev. 10:3; 1 Ki. 21:27; 1 Ki. 21:29; Ps. 4:4; Ps. 30:12; Ps. 35:15; Ps. 109:16; Isa. 6:5; Isa. 47:5; Dan. 10:9; Dan. 10:15

Talk about a change of mind! They are the perfect example of the reaction of a convicted sinner, which is always a component of genuine conversion! "Conviction is the key used by the Holy Spirit to open the heart to salvation." (MacArthur) These convicted Jews were how wide awake and rightly thinking about the Word of Truth! Peter enabled by the Holy Spirit and Holy Word had orchestrated a complete turnaround in their attitude from a spirit of insensibility to a spirit of indictment! Indeed, this is the effect which the Sword of the Living and Active Word of God is able to supernaturally accomplish (Hebrews 4:12,13+)! Dear pastor/teacher, are you handling the "Sword of the Spirit" adroitly and effectively in your preaching (Eph 6:17+, cf 2 Ti 4:2-4, 5+)? If not, your preaching is more like pablum than power!

Spurgeon says "There is a great distinction between being cut to the heart (Acts 7:54) and being pricked in the heart. Those who were cut to the heart stoned the preacher (Stephen - Acts 7:57-60); but they who are pricked in the heart yield a sweet obedience to the will of God"

R C H Lenski - Like a sharp spear the law penetrated their hitherto hard and impervious hearts. The Greek καρδία is always the center of the personality, psychologically the mind plus the will. Far more than the feelings of the hearers were stirred or hurt. “Pierced through” means in a deadly way. By the exposure of it which Peter had made their entire previous attitude of unbelief was struck a deadly blow. These men felt utterly crushed. They were not only hurt but hurt so that they could not rally against the hurt. Their conscience was smitten so that they could not fend off the blow. They had been in opposition to God in their treatment of his grace in Jesus. Denial on their part was impossible. The question they asked is a full admission of their guilt. (Borrow the interpretation of the acts of the apostles)

Dear believer, can we not apply the principle of pricking of our hearts by the Spirit and the Word - Are we allowing the Holy Spirit to pierce our heart in areas where we need to respond to Him in repentance and faith in our spiritual growth? Or have we shut down; tuned out the Holy Spirit; developed a calloused conscience. How sensitive are we to the Holy Spirit? Are you grieving the Spirit (Eph 4:30+)?

And said to Peter and the rest of the apostles - In Acts 2:14 we saw that Peter took "his stand with the eleven" and functioned as the spokesman of the group. And so here the question is addressed not just to Peter, but to the rest of the apostles who have been standing with Peter throughout his message.

Apostles (652)(apostolos  from apo = from + stello = send forth) (Click discussion of apostle) means one sent forth from by another, often with a special commission to represent another and to accomplish his work. It can be a delegate, commissioner, ambassador sent out on a mission or orders or commission and with the authority of the one who sent him.

Brethren what shall we do? - Brethren referring to Jewish "brethren." It is interesting that the sermon was enclosed so to speak by two questions from the crowd  - "What does this mean?" (Acts 2:12) and "What shall we do?" (Acts 2:37)  Peter had answered the first question which led to their conviction and their second question which prompted a clear proclamation of the Gospel. 

If they had killed the Messiah and He was now at the right hand of God, the Jews must have wondered what in the world were they to do now? "We've rejected Him and Killed Him! We are His enemies and you just reminded us God will put all His enemies under His feet! So what shall we do?"

The crowd asked John the Baptist the same question "Then what shall we do?” (Lk 3:10+).

After Saul had seen Jesus on the Damascus Road "“And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Get up and go on into Damascus, and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.’ (Acts 22:10).

Their question reminds us of the desperate question from the jailer (at risk of losing his life for letting prisoners escape) in Philippi when "after he brought them (Paul and Silas) out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30).

Matthew PooleWhat shall we do? not, What shall we say, or believe? Conversion, if real, goes further than profession, and is in heart and deed, not in speech and word only

Cole - Their address, “brethren,” shows that their hearts had been softened. To be “pierced to the heart” shows their feelings of deep anguish as they realized that they were guilty of killing their own Messiah. The Holy Spirit stabbed them with conviction of their terrible sin....The conviction of sin is often the missing note in our evangelistic efforts. We are too quick in trying to heal people who do not realize that they are mortally ill. We need to use God’s holy law to show sinners their desperate condition. Only after they feel that should we apply the promise of God’s grace in the gospel.

Guzik on What shall we do? writes "Peter gave them something to do. This means that we must do something to be saved, we must do something to follow Jesus; it doesn’t just “happen.” Peter did not say, “There’s nothing you can do. If God saves you, you’re saved. If God doesn’t save you, you’ll never be saved.” Though it was true that only God could do the saving, the people had to receive through repentance and faith, faith leading to action such as baptism. The first thing Peter told them to do is repent." (Acts 2 Commentary)

Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

KJV Acts 2:38 Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

  • Repent Acts 3:19; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20; Mt 3:2,8,9; 4:17; 21:28-32; Luke 15:1-32; Luke 24:47
  • each of you be baptized Acts 8:36-38; 16:15,31-34; 22:16; Titus 3:5; 1 Peter 3:21
  • in the name of Jesus Christ Acts 8:12,16; 10:48; 19:4,5; Mt 28:19; Ro 6:3; 1 Cor 1:13-17
  • you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  Acts 2:16-18; 8:15-17; 10:44,45; Isa 32:15; 44:3,4; 59:21; Ezek 36:25-27; Ezek 39:29; Joel 2:28,29; Zech 12:10
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Peter said to them, Repent - Peter's proclamation calls for application. They had asked Peter what to do and he does not give them suggestions, but a clear command to Repent. The command is in the aorist imperative which calls for immediate obedience. This command conveys a sense of urgency. Peter is saying in essence "Do not delay! Do not put this off! Do not procrastinate! Just do it! And do it now!"

Kistemaker on repent - The imperative repent implies that the Jews turn from the evil they have perpetrated, have an intense abhorrence for the sins they committed, experience a complete turnabout of their lives, and adhere to Jesus’ teaching....Repentance signifies that man’s mind is changed completely, so that he consciously turns away from sin (Acts 3:19). Repentance causes a person to think and act in harmony with Jesus’ teachings. The result is that he breaks with unbelief and in faith accepts God’s Word. According to Louis Berkhof, true repentance encompasses three elements: intellect, emotion, and volition.

Guzik Repent sounds like such a harsh word in the mouths of many preachers and in the ears of many listeners, but it is an essential aspect of the gospel. Repent has been rightly called “the first word of the gospel.” (Cf John the Baptist - Mt 3:2 and Jesus - Mt 4:17) (Acts 2 Commentary)

Spurgeon - The old-fashioned grace of repentance is not to be dispensed with; there must be sorrow for sin; there must be ‘a broken and a contrite heart.’ This, God will not despise; but a ‘conversion’ which does not produce this result, God will not accept as genuine.

The need for repentance is not a new message as we see in Jonah’s message to Nineveh and their need for repentance because of their great wickedness Jonah 3:10 “When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way; then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.” (See also Jonah 3:8).

Steven Cole - First Peter calls upon them to repent. There are many in our day who argue that repentance has no place in salvation; rather, all a person must do is believe in Christ. Repentance, they say, comes later. If so, Peter botched the Gospel! The fact is, repentance and faith are flip sides of the same coin. You cannot have true saving faith without repentance. Others minimize the definition of repentance, saying that it means simply to change your mind about who Jesus is. Certainly it includes that, but it is more than that. I. Howard Marshall writes, “The word indicates a change of direction in a person’s life rather than simply a mental change of attitude or a feeling of remorse; it signifies a turning away from a sinful and godless way of life” (ibid., p. 80). Faith in Jesus Christ is implicit in repentance."  (Borrow The Acts of the Apostles : an introduction and commentary) (from The Sermon that Launched the Church

Beloved, if you are one who minimizes the need of repentance in salvation, you need to realize that repentance is repeatedly a component of the apostle's message in Acts...

Acts 3:19  “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord;

Acts 5:31   “He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.

Acts 8:22   “Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you.

Acts 11:18  When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”

Acts 13:24  after John had proclaimed before His coming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.

Acts 17:30  “Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent,

Acts 19:4  Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.”

Acts 20:21   solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

"This word (repent) was the message of the Baptist, of Jesus, of Peter, of Paul, this radical change of attitude and life." (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

Repent (3340metanoeo from meta = with, among + noeo = to think, exercise the mind <> from nous = mind - see study = metanoia) means to have another mind. In essence make an "about face," turning 180 degrees from the direction you had previously been walking in your unrepentant, unregenerate state!

Metanoeo means to change one's mind in respect to sin, God, and self. To turn to God and from sin (Luke 15:7,10 = "one sinner who repents", cf a perfect illustration of repentance in 1Th 1:9-note). Repentance is not an intellectual decision but a change of mind that issues in a change of behavior. This change of mind may, especially in the case of Christians who have fallen into sin, be preceded by sorrow (2 Cor 7:8-11); but sorrow for sin, though it may cause repentance, is not repentance. Darrell Bock writes "the point is that repentance involves a reorientation of perspective, a fresh point of view. When dealing with God's plan, it means to see that plan in a new way and to orient oneself to it. Luke demonstrates the fruit of repentance expresses itself concretely (Lk 3:10-14). Repentance expresses itself in life, especially in how one treats others."  There can be no genuine conversion without genuine repentance.

Luke's uses of metanoeo - Lk. 10:13; Lk. 11:32; Lk. 13:3; Lk. 13:5; Lk. 15:7; Lk. 15:10; Lk. 16:30; Lk. 17:3; Lk. 17:4; Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19; Acts 8:22; Acts 17:30; Acts 26:20

God uses at least four factors to prompt repentance - 

(1) The knowledge of God's Truth should prompt repentance (Mt 11:21-24 - where Chorazin, et al refused to repent at the Truth; cf Lk 16:30-31+ which also illustrates the sufficiency of the Truth to prompt repentance.) Note the deadly deception - one can have Truth (as well as #2 sorrow) without true repentance! Beware!

(2) Sorrow for sin can lead to repentance (2 Cor 7:9-10+), but sorrow per se should NOT be confused with true repentance. E.g., Judas felt sorrow  (remorse - Mt 27:3) for betraying Jesus but he did not repent of his horrible sin. Had he repented Jesus would have forgiven him! Amazing grace!

(3) God's kindness prompts (leads to) repentance (Ro 2:4+) - the corollary thought is that true repentance is a gift of the Spirit!

(4) Fear of final judgment (as discussed in Acts 17:30,31+) can motivate one to true repentance. Indeed, realization that there is no other way of escape but through Jesus, should cause any "rational" person to repent.

Repentance is not an act separate from faith, but saving faith includes and implies the true change of mind which is called repentance. For those of us who are already believer,  we need to be aware that repentance is not just an event at the time of our conversion, but represents an ongoing lifestyle -- we sin daily, and sometimes we get caught in a "rut" (habit) of sin, and so we are daily in desperate need of God's gracious gift of repentance. In the parable of the two sons, our Lord Jesus Christ gives a beautiful illustration of what true repentance looks like (Read Mt 21:28-31 = notice second son changed his mind and his behavior!).

As Albert Barnes rightly put it "False repentance dreads the consequences of sin; true repentance dreads sin itself." Amen or Oh my! Do you (I) truly hate the sin that so easily entangles us and is a scandal in Heaven, being an affront to the Holy God?!

C H Spurgeon wrote that "Repentance and faith must go together to complete each other. I compare them to a door and its post. Repentance is the door which shuts out sin, but faith is the post on which its hinges are fixed. A door without a doorpost to hang on is not a door at all, while a doorpost without the door hanging on it is of no value whatever. What God hath joined together let no man put asunder, and these two he has made inseparable—repentance and faith. 

J C Ryle wrote "There can be no true repentance without faith. You may cast away your old habits, as the serpent casts off his skin—but if you are not resting all upon the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, and looking to be saved by simple faith in Him, you may be wise in your own eyes—but you are just ignorant of the root and fountain, the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last, in all true gospel religion. You may tell us you have repented—but if you have not at the same time laid hold on Christ, you have hitherto received the grace of God in vain." (No True Repentance Without Faith)

It is interesting that before the "Iron Curtain" went down, the believers in the anti-Christian Communist countries were often known as "Repenters." Why? Because they were not just "professors" but "possessors" and showed the Spirit of Christ was in them by their supernaturally changed lives in an environment where it could be very costly! John MacArthur wrote in 1993 that "Eastern European Christianity typically refers to new Christians as “repenters.” When someone comes to Christ, fellow believers say the new Christian has “repented.” Usually new believers are given the opportunity to stand before the church and verbalize their repentance. In nearly every church service I have attended in the former Soviet Union, at least one new convert has made a public confession of repentance." (The Gospel According to the Apostles). 

And each of you - This means each and every one individually and personally. John MacArthur adds that "Peter does not allow for any "secret disciples" (cf. Mt 10:32-33). Baptism would mark a public break with Judaism and identification with Jesus Christ. Such a drastic public act would help weed out any conversions which were not genuine. In sharp contrast to many modern gospel presentations, Peter made accepting Christ difficult, not easy. By so doing, he followed the example of our Lord Himself (Luke 14:26-33+; Lk 18:18-27+)". (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Acts)

Steven Cole on why Peter is not teaching that baptism is necessary for salvation - Peter is calling them to an individual response. Salvation always is a personal transaction, not a group plan. As with John the Baptist’s ministry, he links repentance, baptism, and forgiveness of sins (Mark 1:4). Baptism is never just an outward ritual, but rather is a public confession of one’s private faith in and commitment to Jesus Christ. Those who argue that you must be baptized to be saved use this verse as their proof text. But they ignore both the context of this verse and the overwhelming testimony of Scripture, that salvation is by grace through faith, and that good works (such as baptism) are the result of salvation (Eph. 2:8-10). Granted, the notion of an unbaptized believer was foreign to the apostles, since it was assumed that saving faith would result in prompt obedience to Jesus Christ. But, in the next chapter (Acts 3:19), Peter calls his audience to repent “so that your sins may be wiped away,” but he never mentions baptism. When Peter called upon these people to be baptized, he was calling them to make a radical break with their culture and religion that had crucified the Messiah, and to be publicly identified with Jesus Christ. This outward symbol would prove the reality of their inward repentance and faith, and the fact that God had forgiven their sins. (The Sermon that Launched the Church Acts 2:14-41)

Be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ - Peter commands them to be baptized (aorist imperative). To be baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ is an acknowledge of His authority over our lives. Some writers feels that Peter used the double name of Jesus Christ

Be baptized (907)(baptizo from bapto = cover wholly with a fluid; stain or dip as with dye; used of the smith tempering the red-hot steel, used of dyeing the hair; of a ship that "dipped" = sank) has a literal and a figurative (see Boice below) meaning in the NT. The literal meaning is to submerge, to dip or immerse as in water.

James Montgomery Boice helps understand the figurative meaning of baptizo writing that "The clearest example that shows the meaning of baptizo is a text from the Greek poet and physician Nicander, who lived about 200 B.C. It is a recipe for making pickles and is helpful because it uses both words. Nicander says that in order to make a pickle, the vegetable should first be 'dipped' (bapto) into boiling water and then 'baptised' (baptizo ) in the vinegar solution. Both verbs concern the immersing of vegetables in a solution. But the first is temporary. The second, the act of baptizing the vegetable, produces a permanent change. When used in the New Testament, this word more often refers to our union and identification with Christ than to our water baptism... mere intellectual assent is not enough. There must be a union with Him, a real change, like the vegetable to the pickle!" (Bolding added)

Stanley Toussaint lists several views on how to interpret the phrase be baptized...for the forgiveness of your sins:

(1) One is that both repentance and baptism result in remission of sins. In this view, baptism is essential for salvation. The problem with this interpretation is that elsewhere in Scripture forgiveness of sins is based on faith alone (John 3:16, 36; Rom. 4:1–17; 11:6; Gal. 3:8–9; Eph. 2:8–9; etc.). Furthermore Peter, the same speaker, later promised forgiveness of sins on the basis of faith alone (Acts 5:31; 10:43; 13:38; 26:18).

(2) A second interpretation translates 2:38, “Be baptized … on the basis of the remission of your sins.” The preposition used here is eis which, with the accusative case, may mean “on account of, on the basis of.” It is used in this way in Matthew 3:11; 12:41; and Mark 1:4. Though it is possible for this construction to mean “on the basis of,” this is not its normal meaning; eis with the accusative case usually describes purpose or direction.

(J C Ryle for example holds this view -  This does not mean in order that sins might be remitted, for everywhere in the New Testament sins are forgiven as a result of faith in Christ, not as a result of baptism. It means be baptized because of the remission of sins. The Greek preposition eis, for, has this meaning “because of” not only here but also in such a passage as Matthew 12:41 where the meaning can only be “they repented because of [not in order to] the preaching of Jonah.” Repentance brought the remission of sins for this Pentecostal crowd, and because of the remission of sins they were asked to be baptized.)

(3) A third view takes the clause and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ as parenthetical. Several factors support this interpretation: (a) The verb makes a distinction between singular and plural verbs and nouns. The verb “repent” is plural and so is the pronoun “your” in the clause so that your sins may be forgiven (lit., “unto the remission of your sins,” eis aphesin tōn hamartiōn hymōn). Therefore the verb “repent” must go with the purpose of forgiveness of sins. On the other hand the imperative “be baptized” is singular, setting it off from the rest of the sentence. (b) This concept fits with Peter’s proclamation in Acts 10:43 in which the same expression “sins may be forgiven” (aphesin hamartiōn) occurs. There it is granted on the basis of faith alone. (c) In Luke 24:47 and Acts 5:31 the same writer, Luke, indicates that repentance results in remission of sins.

William MacDonald on meaning of be baptized - At first glance, this verse seems to teach salvation by baptism, and many people insist that this is precisely what it does mean. Such an interpretation is impossible for the following reasons:

  1. In dozens of NT passages, salvation is said to be by faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 1:12; 3:16, 36; 6:47; Acts 16:31; Ro 10:9). No verse or two could conceivably contradict such overwhelming testimony.
  2. The thief on the cross had the assurance of salvation apart from baptism (Lk 23:43).
  3. The Savior is not stated to have baptized anyone, a strange omission if baptism is essential to salvation.
  4. The Apostle Paul was thankful that he baptized only a few of the Corinthians—a strange cause for thankfulness if baptism has saving merit (1 Cor. 1:14–16).(Borrow Believer's Bible Commentary)

Warren Wiersbe points out that "the people in the home of Cornelius received the Holy Spirit before they were baptized (Acts 10:44-48)." (Bible Exposition Commentary)

Paul Apple - Account of Philip preaching Christ (His crucifixion and resurrection) to the Ethiopian eunuch in Acts 8:26-40; Response -- “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God” – let’s move on to take the next step of water baptism. Paul evangelizing the Philippian jailer – Acts 16:30-31 “What must I do to be saved? Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household” – baptism immediately follows.  (The Spread of the Gospel)

Stott: What the gospel demands is a radical turn from sin to Christ, which takes the form inwardly of repentance and faith, and outwardly of baptism. For submission to baptism in the name of the Christ we have formerly repudiated gives public evidence of penitent faith in him. (The Message of Acts)

Ryrie has an interesting note on baptism in the name of Jesus Christ - Since baptism signifies association (ED: BAPTISM = IDENTIFICATION WITH) with the message, group, or person involved in authorizing it, baptism in the name of Jesus Christ meant for these people a severing of their ties with Judaism and an association with the messages of Jesus and His people. Baptism was the line of demarcation. Even today for a Jew it is not his profession of Christianity nor his attendance at Christian services nor his acceptance of the New Testament, but his submission to water baptism that definitely and finally excludes him from the Jewish community and marks him off as a Christian. This explains the insistence on the ordinance. (Acts of the Apostles)

Be baptized for...the forgiveness of your sins - I am fully aware that some use Peter's words to justify their belief that baptism is necessary for salvation. Obviously this is a huge topic and this commentary will avoid going into detail except for a few comments. The related resources below go into more detail. Suffice it to say I strongly refute the teaching that unless one is baptized in water they will not be saved. Such a baptism is clearly a work and Paul is crystal clear in Ephesians 2 writing

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works (INCLUDING BAPTISM), so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works (WORKS ARE THE EXPECTED FRUIT OF GENUINE SALVATION, BUT NOT THE ROOT OF THAT SALVATION!), which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.  (Ephesians 2:8-10)

As alluded to in these notes, the teaching that one must be baptized to be saved counters multiple other NT passages that clearly teach salvation is by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. Anything added to this is damnable heresy (IMO)! In support of this basic refutation John MacArthur writes "such teaching (THAT BAPTISM IS NECESSARY FOR SALVATION) violates the important hermeneutical principle known as analogia Scriptura (the analogy of Scripture). That principle states that no passage, when correctly interpreted, will teach something contradictory to the rest of Scripture. And the rest of Scripture unmistakably teaches that salvation is solely by faith (cf. John 1:12; 3:16; Acts 16:31; Rom. 3:21-30; 4:5; 10:9-10; Phil. 3:9; Gal. 2:16)."

To quote from Gotquestions.orgBaptism is not necessary for salvation. Baptism does not save from sin but from a bad conscience. In 1 Peter 3:21, Peter clearly taught that baptism was not a ceremonial act of physical purification, but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. Baptism is the symbol of what has already occurred in the heart and life of one who has trusted Christ as Savior (Romans 6:3-5; Galatians 3:27; Colossians 2:12). Baptism is an important step of obedience that every Christian should take. Baptism cannot be a requirement for salvation. To make it such is an attack on the sufficiency of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (Is Baptism Necessary for Salvation?)

Related Resources:

Forgiveness (859)(aphesis from aphiemi = action which causes separation and is in turn derived from apo = from + hiemi = put in motion, send) literally means to send away or to put apart, a letting go, a leaving behind, a removal.  Aphesis refers to a remission as when one remits (pardons, cancels) a debt, or releases then from an obligation. To release from captivity.

Luke uses 9 of the 16 NT uses of aphesis - Lk. 1:77; Lk. 3:3; Lk. 4:18; Lk. 24:47; Acts 2:38; Acts 5:31; Acts 10:43; Acts 13:38; Acts 26:18

SEPTUAGINT USES OF APHESIS - The OT gives us a beautiful picture of the meaning of aphesis in the celebration of the Year of Jubilee. In fact there are 11 uses of aphesis in the Septuagint translation of Leviticus 25 (commentary) (Lev 25:10-13, 28, 30-31, 33, 40, 41, 50, 52, 54) where aphesis is frequently substituted for the Hebrew word Jubilee, so that instead of the phrase Year of Jubilee the Lxx translated into English reads "Year of the Release" in Lev 25:13 (or "Jubilee of Release in Lev 25:11). One aspect of the Year of Jubilee involved the setting free of indebted servants or slaves (cf Lev 25:10). It is interesting that the OT release from debts was associated with a time of celebration. How much more should we as NT saints daily celebrate and revel in the truth that we have been released from our sin debt! I fear I do not ponder this profound truth often enough and begin to take it for granted and become complacent and even indifferent which makes me vulnerable to committing sin! We need to remember that the Year of Jubilee was an OT picture which pointed to and was fulfilled in the crucifixion of the Messiah Whose fully atoning, substitutionary death made release from sin, Satan and death possible for all who receive this truth by grace through faith. 

Forgive (THIS IS THE RELATED VERB)(863)(aphiemi from apo = prefix speaks of separation, putting some distance between + hiemi = put in motion, send) conveys the basic idea of an action which causes separation. Literally aphiemi means to send from one's self, to forsake, to hurl away, to put away, let alone, disregard, put off. It conveys the basic idea of an action which causes separation and refers to total detachment, total separation, from a previous location or condition. In secular Greek aphiemi initially conveyed the sense of to throw and in one secular writing we read "let the pot drop" (aphiemi). From this early literal use the word came to mean leave or let go.

Forgiveness is the very essence of the New Covenant, Jesus declaring to His disciples "this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness (aphesis) of sins." (Mt 26:28).

Beloved, believer (especially if you are holding on to sins you have committed in the past) the Greek word for Forgiveness means God buries our sin and does not mark the grave or leave the hatchet handle exposed  (so to speak) to be able to dig them up again. When God at Calvary paid the penalty of human sin by satisfying the just demands of His holy law, He PUT AWAY sin (along with its guilt, defilement, and penalty), "bidding it to go away" (aphiemi). This transaction was beautifully memorialized in the symbolism of the Day of Atonement (Lev 16:21, 22+ - celebrated as one of the most solemn Jewish holidays by modern Jews who celebrate the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) on the 10th of Tishri or September) where the Azazel or scapegoat (cf Lev 16:26+ where aphiemi is used in the Septuagint), figuratively or symbolically bearing all the sins of all the people of Israel (one year's worth of sins!), was led away into the wilderness to bear away their sins, perfectly foreshadowing Jesus' once for all time work as our "Sin Bearer" (1Pe 2:24-note). On the Day of Atonement there was also a second goat which was chosen by lot and was sacrificed symbolizing the need for a substitute to die in the sinner's stead!

And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit - The gift is the Spirit Himself! This is the very gift the Jewish crowd had witnessed as having been given to the 120 disciples. 

Receive (2983)(lambano) means in an active sense to take or grasp, but in a passive sense as in this passage to be a recipient of God's Spirit.

Gift (1431)(dorea from didomi = to give) refers to a free and unmerited gift (SOUNDS A LOT LIKE "GRACE"!) and emphasizes the gratuitous character of the gift which is without price and which cannot be purchased. Dorea is the Holy Spirit being given freely by God to believers (to seal us - Eph 1:13+, as pledge of our future inheritance - Eph 1:14, etc).

Cole on the gift - Peter proclaims God’s promise, that they will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (i.e., the Holy Spirit Himself is the gift). When they repented and trusted in Christ, the Holy Spirit was a part of God’s gift of salvation. (The Sermon that Launched the Church

Longenecker on gift - This primary gift includes a variety of spiritual gifts for the advancement of the gospel and the welfare of God’s people. But first of all, it has to do with what God’s Spirit does for every Christian in applying and working out the benefits of Christ’s redemptive work. (Expositor's Bible Commentary)

Paul Apple - Pretty important gift as we see from the dramatic events of the Day of Pentecost. Once again, we have tended to minimize the reality of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. (The Spread of the Gospel)

John Stott - Here, then is a fourfold message – two events (Christ’s death and resurrection), as attested by two witnesses (prophets and apostles), on the basis of which God makes two promises (forgiveness and the Spirit), on two conditions (repentance and faith, with baptism). We have no liberty to amputate this apostolic gospel, by proclaiming the cross without the resurrection, or referring to the New Testament but not the Old, or offering forgiveness without the Spirit, or demanding faith without repentance. There is a wholeness about the biblical gospel. (Borrow The message of Acts : the Spirit, the church & the world)

Acts 2:39   "For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself."

KJV Acts 2:39 For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

  • For the promise is for you Acts 3:25,26; Ge 17:7,8; Ps 115:14,15; Jer 32:39,40; Ezek 37:25; Joel 2:28; Ro 11:16,17; 1 Cor 7:14
  • And for all who are far off - Acts 10:45; Acts 11:15-18; 14:27; 15:3,8,14; Isa 59:19; Eph 2:13-22; 3:5-8
  • as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself Joel 2:32; Ro 8:30; 9:24; 11:29; Eph 1:18; 4:4; 2 Th 1:11; 2:13,14; 2 Ti 1:9; He 3:1; 9:15; 1 Peter 5:10; 2 Peter 1:3,10; Rev 17:14; 19:9
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

For the promise - What is the promise? The promise refers to the gift of the Holy Spirit. This was the promise made by Jesus in Acts 1:4, Luke recording "Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me." 

Promise (1860) See preceding discussion of epaggelia/epangelia

For the promise is for you and your children - Peter term "for you" clearly refers to Jews. Peter extends the promise beyond them to their children and beyond them to those who are far off, “as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” The Old Testament had numerous promises to Israel of the the Spirit (Isa. 44:3; Ezek. 36:27; 37:14; Joel 2:28-29) and Peter is telling them that these OT promises are realized by repentance and faith in Jesus Christ.

The statement for you and your children is a reflection of the depth of mercy (song by Selah) and forgiveness of our great and gracious God. Why do I say that? Recall the invocation the Jews who cried out for to Pilate for Jesus' life - "And all the people said, “His blood shall be on us and on our children!” (Mt 27:25). While the Jews accepted the culpability for Jesus' death, they cry did not absolve Pilate or the Romans of their guilt in Jesus' murder. But now in Acts 2:39 Peter reverses (at least for those Jews who believed in Messiah) the curse on themselves and their children! 

And for all who are far off - Here Peter uses a phrase which speaks of the Gentiles who were considered "far off" from God. 

Robertson - The horizon widens and includes the Gentiles. Those "afar off" from the Jews were the heathen (Isaiah 49:1; Isaiah 57:19; Eph 2:13, 17). The rabbis so used it. (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

Isaiah 57:19 alludes not only you and your children but those who are far off

"Creating the praise of the lips. Peace, peace to him who is far and to him who is near,” Says the LORD, “and I will heal him.” 

MacArthur explains "In this context, it is the voice crying "peace, peace" in a call to people far and near to come to the Lord and receive spiritual healing." (MacArthur Study Bible)

Spurgeon - That is to say, that great covenant promise, ‘Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved,’ is meant for you, is meant for your children, is meant for Hottentots, is meant for Hindoos, is meant for Greenlanders, is meant for everybody to whom the Lord’s call is addressed.

Paul describes the spiritual state of the Gentiles, also called "Uncircumcision" by the so-called "Circumcsion" (Physically circumcised Jews)

Remember (speaking to Gentile believers in Ephesus) that you were at that time (1) separate from Christ, (2) excluded from the commonwealth of Israel, and (3) strangers to the covenants of promise, (4) having no hope and (5) without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Eph 2:12-13)

And so it follows that the life saving Gospel is available to both Jews and Gentiles, which recalls the earlier passage in Acts 2:21+ stating that "everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord shall be saved." In Acts 2:21+ the Jews did not yet comprehend to Whom the Name of the Lord referred. But after Peter's clear teaching on Jesus the Nazarene (Acts 2:22-36+), they understood that the Name of the Lord was Jesus Who is both "Lord and Christ." (Acts 2:36) As Peter said in Acts 4:12 "there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

As many as the Lord our God will call to Himself - This is mysterious. The Lord will call to Himself, but those called must still personally, by an act of their own will call on the Name of the Lord! In the final analysis, Jonah in the belly of a fish was right when he declared that "salvation is from the Lord." (Jonah 2:9b)

Paul writes that those "whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. (Ro 8:30+), later (in context of God's calling out of a Jewish remnant) added that "the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable." (Ro 11:29+). 

Joel's prophecy speaks of the need for the called to themselves call

Joel 2:32  And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD Will be delivered; For on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem There will be those who escape, As the LORD has said, Even among the survivors whom the LORD calls.

Robertson on as many as the Lord God will call - The Lord God calls men of every nation anywhere whether Jews or Gentiles. It may be doubted how clearly Peter grasped the significance of these words for he will have trouble over this very matter on the housetop in Joppa and in Caesarea, (Acts 10:9, 14-15, 17) but he will see before long the full sweep of the great truth that he here proclaims under the impulse of the Holy Spirit. It was a great moment that Peter here reaches. (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

Vincent adds "Peter knew the fact that the Gentiles were to be received into the Church, but not the mode. He expected they would become Christians through the medium of the Jewish religion. It was already revealed in the Old Testament that they should be received, and Christ himself had commanded the apostles to preach to all nations." (Word Studies in the New Testament)

Cole on the need for the called to call - While salvation, on the one hand, requires that a person call on the name of the Lord (Acts 2:21), on the other hand no one calls on the Lord unless the Lord first calls him to Himself (Acts 2:39). Although Peter may not yet have understood it, those who are far off no doubt referred to the Gentiles.

Related Resource:

Acts 2:40   And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation!"

KJV Acts 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

  • with many other words  Acts 15:32; 20:2,9,11; 28:23; John 21:25
  • he solemnly testified Acts 10:42; 20:21,24; Gal 5:3; Eph 4:17; 1 Th 2:11; 1 Peter 5:12
  • kept on exhorting them, saying, "Be saved Acts 16:28-34; Pr 9:6; Luke 21:36; 2 Cor 5:20; 6:17; 1 Ti 4:16; He 3:12,13; James 4:8-10; Rev 3:17-19; 18:4,5
  • from this perverse generation Mt 3:7-10; 12:34; 16:4; 17:17; 23:33; Mark 8:38
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

And with many other words - As noted earlier, Luke's summary of the sermon takes less than 5 minutes to read, but the description suggests a much longer message. So "parishioners" don't get any ideas that you can shorten your pastor's sermons by appealing to the brevity of Peter's message in Acts 2!

Words (3056)(logos) the general term for speaking, but always with rational content. Peter's sermon was supernaturally, supremely rational as the results attest!

He solemnly testified - "He bore witness" (ESV) "Testified with many other arguments" (NAB) This is not a suggestion but an emphatic statement that this is serious business which has to do with their eternal destiny. Eternal punishment is a long time!

Solemnly testified (solemnly charged)(1263) (diamarturomai from diá = intensifies meaning conveying idea of "thoroughly" + marturomai = witness, bear witness) means to bear witness, testify earnestly or repeatedly, to charge as it if before witnesses (In 2 Ti 4:1+ before God and Christ Jesus - Who actually are always "Witnesses"!), to exhort earnestly and with authority in matters of extraordinary importance, here the preaching of Christ and Him crucified, resurrected, reigning and returning. It carries the idea of giving a forceful order or directive.

This same sobering verb is used in the Septuagint in the following passages in which God warned His Chosen People

Yet the LORD warned (Lxx = diamarturomai) Israel and Judah through all His prophets and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep My commandments (THIS IS A CALL TO "REPENT"!), My statutes according to all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you through My servants the prophets.” 14 However, they did not listen, but stiffened their neck (REFUSED TO CHANGE THEIR ATTITUDE) like their fathers, who did not believe in the LORD their God. 15 They rejected His statutes and His covenant which He made with their fathers and His warnings with which He warned them (Lxx = diamarturomai). And they followed vanity and became vain, and went after the nations which surrounded them, concerning which the LORD had commanded them not to do like them. (2 Ki 17:13-15, cf 2 Ki 17:6-12)

Spurgeon  - Not, “save yourselves”; but “save yourselves from this untoward generation.” Come out from among them. They are guilty of the death of Christ; you will be found guilty of it, too, unless you now disown the people who committed that awful crime. Come right out from among them, and be altogether separated from them.

Kept on exhorting them - Luke uses the imperfect tense which means Peter was exhorting the Jews again and again. One gets the picture of him doing this after the main message of solemn testifying had ended, addressing questions and comments that the Jews must have addressed to Peter.

Paul Apple - We are appealing primarily not to the emotions but to the will; so intellectual understanding is a prerequisite and then there must be a call to commitment  (Acts Commentary)

Exhorting (imploring) (3870)(parakaleo from para = side of, alongside, beside + kaleo = call) means literally to call one alongside, with the primary sense in the NT being to urge someone to take some action, especially some ethical course of action. 

Saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation!"  - NET = ""Save yourselves from this perverse generation!"

Be saved (4982)(sozo) is a command (aorist imperative = speaks of the urgency of the exhortation) and conveys the basic meaning of being rescued from great peril, indeed, " from the wrath (OF GOD) to come." (1 Th 1:10+)

Perverse (Crooked) (4646)(skolios; English = scoliosis, abnormal curvature of spine) describes something as literally crooked, bent, deformed or warped (as a piece of wood becomes from dryness). It stands opposed to that which is straight. That which is bent sideways, twisted, and then dishonest, unscrupulous.

Peter of course is using skolios figuratively to refer to conduct or lifestyle which deviates from God's standard, which is turned away from the truth. Skolios refers to those things that are morally or spiritually corrupt. We speak of someone's behavior as "crooked" or dishonest. Here Peter is exhorting them to be rescued from outward perverted conduct which characterizes every unregenerate person (and this case a generation), all of whom are crooked in mind, heart, and action, bent ethically in every depraved way imaginable!

While Jesus did not use the same word skolios in His ministry among the Jews, He often used similar descriptions - Mt. 12:39; 16:4; 17:17; 23:33-36; Mk 8:38; Lk 9:41; 11:29; 17:25, cf OT descriptions in Dt. 32:5; Ps. 78:8) In Luke Jesus declared “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you and put up with you? "(Lk 9:41+

Warren Wiersbe -  apostles looked on the nation of Israel as a “crooked generation” that was under condemnation (Matt. 16:4; 17:17; Phil. 2:15). Actually, the nation would have about forty years before Rome would come and destroy the city and the temple and scatter the people. (Bible Exposition Commentary)

Acts 2:41   So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.

KJV Acts 2:41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

  • those who had received his word Acts 2:37; 8:6-8; 13:48; 16:31-34; Mt 13:44-46; Gal 4:14,15; 1 Th 1:6
  • were baptized Acts 2:47; 1:15; 4:4; Ps 72:16,17; 110:3; Luke 5:5-7; John 14:12
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

So then - Term of conclusion. What is Luke concluding? Peter had sown the "seed" and now we see the harvest of "fruit," wrought by the Holy Spirit and the Gospel Seed! There was an immediate connection between their faith and their obedience

Robertson on so then - (Hoi men oun). A common phrase in Acts either without antithesis as in Acts 1:6; Acts 5:41; Acts 8:4, 25; Acts 9:31; Acts 11:19; Acts 16:5; or with it as here, Acts 8:25; Acts 13:4; Acts 14:3; Acts 17:17; Acts 23:31; Acts 25:4. Oun connects with what precedes as the result of Peter's sermon while men points forward to what is to follow (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

Those who had received his word were baptized - What a beautiful picture -- they did not just hear the Gospel. They "welcomed" the good news! And this marks quite a reversal from the experience of Jesus described by John 1:11-13+ "He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive (paralambano) Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God (AS WITH THESE 3000 SOULS), even to those who believe in His Name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God."  

They received it because they believed it! Then they testified to the their belief by being baptized. 

Received ("Welcomed" - Phillips)(588)(apodechomai from apo = from or intensifier +  dechomai = to take from another for oneself, to receive, to welcome) means to receive kindly or hospitably (Luke 8:40; Acts 15:4; 18:27); of God's Word, to receive or embrace heartily, put out the "welcome mat" for it (Acts 2:41); of benefits, to receive or accept gratefully (Acts 24:3). Robertson says "Peculiar to Luke. To receive with pleasure."

James uses the root verb dechomai in a similar sense writing "Therefore, putting aside all filthiness and all that remains of wickedness (WHAT WOULD WE CALL THAT? IS THAT NOT A PICTURE OF REPENTANCE!), in humility (THE 3000 HUMBLED THEMSELVES TO) receive (dechomai = TO PUT OUT THE "WELCOME MAT" FOR) the word implanted, which is able (dunamis = HAS THE INHERENT POWER = THE GOSPEL IS THE POWER OF GOD = Ro 1:16+) to save your souls." (James 1:21+)

Only Luke uses apodechomai in the NT - Lk. 8:40; Lk. 9:11; Acts 2:41; Acts 18:27; Acts 21:17; Acts 24:3; Acts 28:30

Word (3056)(logos) the general term for speaking, but always with rational content, and in this case essentially stands for the Gospel.

Longnecker - The Jews generally looked on baptism as a rite only for Gentile converts (i.e., proselytes), not for one born a Jew. It symbolized the break with one’s Gentile past and the washing away of all defilement. So when Jews accepted baptism in the name of Jesus on hearing Peter’s message, it was traumatic and significant for them in a way we in our mildly Christianized culture have difficulty understanding. (Expositor's Bible Commentary)

Baptized (907)(baptizo from bapto = cover wholly with a fluid; stain or dip as with dye; used of the smith tempering the red-hot steel, used of dyeing the hair; of a ship that "dipped" = sank) iterally means they were submerged, to dipped or immersed in water. All 3000 were obedient to Peter's command to be baptized. What a baptismal service this must have been!

And that day there were added about three thousand souls - Added is in the passive, in this context the "divine passive," (cf same idea in Acts 2:47)  indicating that the "addition" was carried out by the Holy Spirit as in 1 Cor 12:13+"For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit." In this Corinthians passage the baptism of course is spiritual and occurred the moment these 3000 souls believed the Gospel word that Peter preached. It was at that time they were also "added" to the body of Christ. The water baptism did not result in them being added. 

MacArthur - Luke's use of a specific number suggests records were kept of conversions and baptisms (see v. 38 [note]). Archeological work on the S side of the temple mount has uncovered numerous Jewish mikvahs, large baptistry-like facilities where Jewish worshipers would immerse themselves in ritual purification before entering the temple. More than enough existed to facilitate the large number of baptisms in a short amount of time. (MacArthur Study Bible)

Added (4369)(prostithemi from from prós = to or besides + títhēmi = to put) means to join to. 3000 were added to the 120. The Body of Christ was growing in numbers. And in Acts 2:47 this same verb is used again to describe the fact that "the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved." Again in Acts 5:14 we read that "multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number." And as a result of Barnabas' Spirit filled and faith filled ministry "considerable numbers were brought to the Lord." (Acts 11:24+).

All Luke's uses (13/15 NT uses) of prostithemi -Lk. 3:20; Lk. 12:25; Lk. 12:31; Lk. 17:5; Lk. 19:11; Lk. 20:11; Lk. 20:12; Acts 2:41; Acts 2:47; Acts 5:14; Acts 11:24; Acts 12:3; Acts 13:36

Souls (5590)(psuche from psucho = to breathe, blow, English = psychology, "study of the soul") is the breath, then that which breathes, the individual, animated creature. So in this context psuche stands for the whole person. 

All Luke's uses of psuche Lk. 1:46; Lk. 2:35; Lk. 6:9; Lk. 9:24; Lk. 9:56; Lk. 10:27; Lk. 12:19; Lk. 12:20; Lk. 12:22; Lk. 12:23; Lk. 14:26; Lk. 17:33; Lk. 21:19; Acts 2:27; Acts 2:41; Acts 3:23; Acts 4:32; Acts 7:14; Acts 14:2; Acts 14:22; Acts 15:24; Acts 15:26; Acts 20:10; Acts 20:24; Acts 27:10; Acts 27:22; Acts 27:37; 

McGee on 3000 souls - This is not some preacher’s count. These were genuinely born again believers. Here is one place where the figure on the number of converts is absolutely accurate.

A T Robertson has a note with which I strongly object - "Furneaux warns us that all the 3,000 may not have been genuine converts." I hardly think the Spirit would have inspired Luke to record professors who were not also possessors. Furneaux's comment reflects the lack of belief that God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly beyond all that we could ask or think.  (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

Guzik - Many in this crowd went back home, traveling far from Jerusalem, taking the good news of Jesus Christ with them. (Acts 2 Commentary)

Cole - Much modern evangelism tries to make becoming a Christian as easy as possible. We dodge the issue of sin. We don’t talk about the cost of discipleship. We wouldn’t dare call on people to make a radical break with their culture. But Peter called them to repentance and baptism. For a Jew to be baptized was a traumatic thing. They generally looked on baptism as a rite for Gentile converts or for notorious sinners, not for “good” Jews (Longenecker, p. 286). But Peter preached boldly, God worked inwardly, and the church was launched, 3,000 strong! Peter’s message in a nutshell was: Since God has made Jesus both Lord and Christ who will judge the world, sinners must repent.

John MacArthur comments on the "altar call" -  Preachers who are gifted communicators, and who are articulate, and who use the emotional techniques, and the sad stories, and the tear jerking approaches, and who get the mood music playing behind the scene, and can create the kind of manipulative environment, can effect in people behavior changes and even alter their basic values--and never need to use the Word of God. But what is the result? What is the ultimate result? Is it true regeneration? Of course not! The only legitimate tool is the Scripture. The only legitimate bridge to change--is the mind. Lifton also says in this article, In an excellent article on attitude change, in the "Handbook of Social Psychology, Volume 3" psychologist William McGuire suggests that human attitude change may be broken down into at least five steps of levels (this is interesting). This is the process people go through when they change attitudes: ATTENTION, COMPREHENSION, YIELDING, RETENTION, and ACTION. (Messengers or Manipulators?)


Here are the passages describing "arithmetic" (both addition and multiplication, so to speak) in the early church.


(DISCIPLES)  So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. (Acts 2:41). 

(DISCIPLES)  praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:47). 

(DISCIPLES)   But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.  (Acts 4:4). 

(DISCIPLES)  "And all the more believers in the Lord, multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number," (Acts 5:14).

(DISCIPLES) Now at this time while the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint arose on the part of the Hellenistic Jews against the native Hebrews, because their widows were being overlooked in the daily serving of food. (Acts 6:1)

(DISCIPLES) The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith. (Acts 6:7)

(CHURCH) So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase. (Acts 9:31 - NOTE: See also Acts 9:35 and Acts 9:42)

(WORD) But the word of the Lord continued to grow and to be multiplied. (Acts 12:24)

(CHURCH)  So the churches were being strengthened in the faith, and were increasing in number daily. (Acts 16:5)

(WORD)  So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing. (Acts 19:20)

Cole - Years ago I was reading Charles Simeon, a great Anglican preacher from the early 19th century. He stated that he had three aims in his preaching: to exalt the Savior, to humble the sinner, and to promote holiness. I thought that those were clear, godly aims, and so in a sermon, I shared that those were my aims, also. I was somewhat startled when a woman who had been on staff for 25 years with a Christian evangelistic organization came up to me and said, “I don’t agree with those aims. We don’t need to be humbled. We need to hear more how we are made in the image of God.” Her comment reflects the man-centered focus of much modern evangelism. But the point of biblical evangelism is not to make people feel good about who they are or to feel that God loves them just as they are. Rather, it is to show them who Jesus Christ truly is, the Lord of the universe, the Christ of God who offered Himself for our sins and who was raised from the dead. It should show them who they are, sinners who crucified the Son of God, who are in danger of His impending judgment. It should show them God’s great mercy, that if they will repent and call on the name of the Lord, He will save them from His judgment. It should show them the need to live in obedience to Him, no matter what the cost.

Acts 2:41-47 Outline of Passage

1. A saved membership (41)

2. A steadfast membership (42)

3. A sacrificial membership (44-5)

4. A serving membership (46)

5. A spirit-filled membership (47)

A "Well" Church

 Read: Acts 2:41-47

They continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship. —Acts 2:42

Pastor and author Greg Laurie says that churches are “well” when they practice these activities:


Like the early church, we should be active in these ways today.

Worship. We must meet together for fellowship, communion, prayer, and praise (Acts 2:42,47). God is to be the focus of all we do in His church.

Evangelize. As we share the Word, the Lord will add new believers to the church (v.47). We can all take part in spreading God’s Word by developing a friendship, by giving someone an article about the gospel, or by sharing some Scripture verses with a stranger.

Learn. We must continue learning sound doctrine taught by qualified leaders (v.42). The Bible is filled with instruction for living, and we should take every opportunity to learn from it, apply it to our lives, and teach others.

Love. We are to share with whoever has need, and enjoy the fellowship of other believers regularly (vv.45-46).

A church whose members worship, evangelize, learn, and love will be a “well” church, effective in the community, and appreciated by “all the people” (v.47).

Churches grow when people pray
And pastors preach the Word,
When love for Christ sends out the call
To those who have not heard. —D. De Haan

A world in despair needs churches that care.

By Anne Cetas  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Just Another Sunday?

Read: Acts 2:41-47 

They continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine. —Acts 2:42

Early on a sunny Sunday afternoon after church, I headed out for a walk around the neighborhood. A man was trimming his grass along the sidewalk, and we greeted each other with the usual “Hello, how are you?” In a negative tone, he replied, “It’s just another Sunday.” Later, I wondered what he had meant by that. Was he saying, I’m just doing my chores—going through the motions?

Sometimes even church attendance can become a matter of merely going through the motions on just another Sunday. For the believers in the early church (Acts 2:41-47), joining with fellow believers was a source of excitement. That was when the church first started and everyone was a new believer—so they were bound to be enthusiastic. But what about us? What can we do to make each Sunday special?

Go with the anticipation of meeting with God. While He is with us all the time (Heb. 13:5), God is with us in a unique way as we gather with others who know Him (Matt. 18:20; James 4:8). Bring your burdens and praises to Him.

Go to learn about God. We may not learn something new every week, but we can always be encouraged by the truths of God’s Word (Ps. 119:105). Expect to hear from Him.

Go to fellowship with others. We need each other in this Christian journey. Encourage others, challenge them in their faith, and pray for them (Heb. 10:24-25).

Lord, give us a renewed enthusiasm of heart for attending church, so that it won’t be just another Sunday.

If you want to be spiritually fed, go to church with a hunger for the Word.

By Anne Cetas  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Acts 2:42   They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

KJV Acts 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

  • They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching Acts 2:46; 11:23; 14:22; Mark 4:16,17; John 8:31,32; 1 Cor 11:2; Gal 1:6; Eph 2:20; Col 1:23; 2 Ti 3:14; He 10:39; 2 Peter 3:1,2,17,18; 1 John 2:19
  • to fellowship Acts 4:23; 5:12-14; 1 John 1:3,7
  • to the breaking of bread Acts 20:7,11; 1 Cor 10:16,17,21; 11:20-26
  • to prayer Acts 1:14; 4:31; 6:4; Ro 12:12; Eph 6:18; Col 4:2; He 10:25; Jude 1:20
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries
  • Priority of Expository Preaching - Steve Lawson


Acts 2:42-47 gives us the prototypical pattern of a Spirit filled church (there was not enough time for sin to infest the body and quench the work of the Spirit). See excellent summary by Tom Nettles - Empowered by One and the Same Spirit. See also article on the Spirit Filled Church

W A Criswell - In this passage one sees the pattern which seems to have become normative for Christianity. People heard and received the word of God; they followed this with confession and public baptism; then they united in the fellowship of the church, continued in the apostles' doctrine, remained in fellowship with the brethren, and frequently observed the Lord's Supper and prayer as a part of responsible church life. Church membership was a privilege granted to those who had experienced genuine conversion followed by believer's baptism. Such membership is indeed a privilege and responsibility, not a right. (Believer's Study Bible)

Life Application Bible Commentary - Books about church planting, church health, and church growth are popular. Seminars about the church abound, with pastors and church boards eager to copy the techniques of a successful pastor or a fast-growing congregation. The following paragraph is a snapshot of the church a few days old. At Pentecost, after the coming of the Holy Spirit, the gathering of 120 exploded! In one day three thousand people came to faith in Christ. Now what do they do? This handful of verses provides a concise summary of what the early church was about; it provides a model that can be applied to the modern church, as well.

Luke had just described the growth of the church in numbers, but now describes the critical aspect of the growth of the church in Christ-likeness.

They were continually devoting themselves - The imperfect tense means this was ongoing, occurring over and over, again and again. And notice the first "target" at which their "devotion" aimed? Not praise and worship songs (as wonderful as they are), but the pure milk of the Word of God. They were indeed "like newborn babes newborn babies, (longing) for the pure milk of the word, so that by it (they might) grow in respect to salvation (1 Peter 2:2+). They had "tasted the kindness of the Lord" (1 Pe 2:3+) in having received salvation and the gift of His Spirit. The "tastes" of the world sadly have a way of diluting out the taste of the kindness we all experienced when we knew that we knew Jesus as our Savior. But that had not yet happened to this first church. Note well - no intake of the Word, no growth in Christ-likeness! It's that simple/profound! 

Notice that this single-minded, steady focus was not just regarding teaching, but included fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer. And to reiterate, they did not casually, passively, half-heartedly, every once in a while do these things...they steadfastly, single-mindedly pursued this course of action. Are those our priorities as a Christian? The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing! Amen. So they were a Learning people, a Loving people, a Worshiping (communion, worship) people and a Praying people. Those are the main things. If you don't have these, you cannot have a church. How are we doing? Are we a learner, a lover, a worshipers and truly a person of prayer? 

J Vernon McGee adds this note on continually devoting - It says they “continued steadfastly" (KJV) in these things is a tremendous expression. It means that they “persisted obstinately” in these things – that they “adhered firmly” to them. Therefore they were staunch and strong relative to the apostles’ doctrine, relative to fellowship, relative to the breaking of bread, and relative to prayer. These stones of the foundation were of tremendous significance to the early church. Beloved, they had a conviction concerning them. The word “conviction” is an interesting word. We get the word “convict” from it, and a convict is one who is in a penitentiary because he was convicted of something. Today, we need “convicts” in the church because they are convicted of something – convicted of these four marks of the visible church! (Spiritual Fingerprints of the Visible Church)

Note the infant church interacted daily, not weekly and intimately, not superficially.


Continually devoting (4342)(proskartereo from prós = implies motion, direction toward + karteréo = be strong, steadfast, firm, endure) means to be earnest towards, to persevere. It describes a steadfast single-minded fidelity to a certain course of action. It means to persist obstinately in a task, to keep on with devotion, to continue to do something with intense effort, to be steadfastly attentive unto, to give unremitting care to a thing, to continue all the time in a place, to persevere and not to faint, to be constantly diligent, to attend assiduously all the exercises, to adhere closely to, to attend continually! What a picture of the early church! What would happen to the church in America if the genuine believers "were continually devoting themselves" to the teaching of the Word of Truth? Beloved, I will tell you what would happen -- you would have a church aflame with the Holy Spirit's empowering presence, a church zealous to exalt the Name of Jesus and the glorious truth of His Gospel. I say that because when you get filled with the Word (Col 3:16+), you get filled with the Spirit (Eph 5:18+).

Proskartereo - describes the disciples in Acts 1:14 who were "all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers." And again in Acts 2:46 Luke describes the believers "Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart." 

I love old J Vernon McGee's "crusty comment" - Now the question arises, how can you tell a true church from a false church? How can you tell the genuine from the counterfeit? Is it by the name that is out front, by the sound of the bell, by the fact that it has a pulpit and that a minister stands back of the pulpit, that there is a robed choir, that there are ushers, and the service opens by singing the doxology and closes with the benediction? The mark of a church is not the height of the steeple nor the sound of the bell. It is not whether the pulpit is stationed in the middle or the chancel is divided. The important issue is whether or not they hold to the apostles’ doctrine. Correct doctrine was one of the fingerprints of the visible church.

To the apostles' teaching - They needed to be taught to think Biblically. Today we no longer have apostles in the NT sense, but we have Spirit empowered, gifted teachers and we should seek to sit under their tutelage. Are you in a "serious" Bible study led by a gifted teacher? If not you are missing out on the growth in grace and godliness such teaching enables. And I am not speaking of Bible studies where you focus on what you think the passage means to you, how it makes you feel, etc. Serious Bible study that God's Spirit blesses seeks to read the text in order to glean "what saith the Lord?" While there are other ways to study the Bible, one of the most fruitful ways is to study inductively. 

As John Phillips rightly says "Experience must always be tested by doctrine, not doctrine by experience." (Exploring Acts)

John Stott observes that the “new converts were not enjoying a mystical experience which led them to despise their mind or disdain theology.… Anti-intellectualism and the fullness of the Spirit are mutually incompatible, because the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth.”  (Borrow The message of Acts : the Spirit, the church & the world)

Steve Lawson says that "Doing God’s work God’s way requires an unwavering commitment to the primacy of biblical preaching and teaching....The early church experienced spiritual vitality, not because of gimmicky techniques, but because it focused on the priority of biblical teaching. Along....The Holy Spirit worked powerfully in this first church by leading the apostles to be prolific in their teaching ministry. Sound doctrine enriched every aspect of this church’s life. Everything flowed from the pure fountain of biblical truth....The apostles’ ministry of preaching and teaching is mentioned more often than any other activity in which they were engaged (Acts 2:42; 3:11–26; 4:1–2, 8–12, 19–20, 31, 33; 5:20–21, 29–32, 42; 6:2, 4, 7, 11, 13–14; 7:1–53). So overwhelming is this evidence that it can be argued that Acts is primarily a record of apostolic preaching and teaching....No matter where they were, these apostles were preaching. Whether in Solomon’s Portico (Acts 3:11–26; 5:20, 42), in public gatherings (Acts 4:2, 33), before the Sanhedrin (Acts 4:8–12; 5:28–32), or from house to house (Acts 5:42), they boldly taught in the name of Christ. Even in the face of life-threatening dangers, the apostles refused to be silenced, declaring, “We cannot stop speaking what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). When the demands of ministry grew complex, they would not be diverted from their central task of teaching. They said, “It is not desirable for us to neglect the Word of God” (Acts 6:2). Most notably, when the successful expansion of their ministry was described, it was measured in terms of the spreading of “the word of God” (Acts 6:7). Similarly, when those under their teaching—men such as Stephen and Philip—were thrust into ministry, they in turn taught the “word” with extraordinary effectiveness (Acts 7:2–50; 8:5, 25, 35, 40). In fact the first disciples filled all Jerusalem with their teaching (Acts 5:28). Unmistakably the apostles’ teaching was most important in the early church.....Biblical preaching must always occupy the leading place of influence in the life of the church. At the core of any healthy congregation is a vibrant exposition of God’s Word. Unfortunately though, many pastors are turning away from the central role of expository preaching and doctrinal teaching. But in so doing, they fail to realize that new converts, first and foremost, need to be taught God’s truth. As a result many other things are competing with—and even replacing—the primary role of biblical preaching in the church. Christian concerts, drama, pageants, festivals, musicals, talk shows, and movies are establishing an increasing foothold in the life of the contemporary church. If done properly, these activities may have a place in the church, but they must never overshadow the Spirit-energized proclamation of God’s Word. In diagnosing the ills of emphasis on these auxiliary methods, Lloyd-Jones lamented, “All this at best is secondary, very often, not even secondary, often not worthy of a place at all, but at best, secondary. The primary task of the Church and of the Christian minister is the preaching of the Word of God.” Evangelical churches desperately need to return to the primacy of the apostles’ teaching....But is this what we hear in pulpits today? Tragically most of what passes for biblical preaching today falls woefully short of apostolic standards. Many pastors seem content to dole out pabulum to spiritual babies, instead of teaching the full counsel of God. Many evangelicals have succumbed to delivering secular-sounding, motivational pep talks aimed at soothing the felt needs of restless church shoppers or, worse, salving the guilty consciences of unregenerate church members. Rather than expounding the depths of God’s Word, many Bible-believing ministers have chosen the path of least resistance, content to scratch the surface of shallow souls, and tickle the ears of languid listeners. If people are to be brought to saving faith in Christ and are to mature spiritually, pastors must teach a comprehensive biblical message that is rooted in the Old Testament, focused on Christ, and full of doctrinal instruction." (The Priority of Biblical Preaching: An Expository Study of Acts 2:42-47 - Bib Sac 158: Page 198 - this article is worth reading dear pastor!)

Paul emphasizes to Titus how critically important teaching is writing "But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound (hygiaino - Eng - hygiienic = "health giving" [spiritually speaking]) doctrine." (Titus 2:1+)

Related Resources:

Recall that the Apostles (except Matthias) been with the resurrected Jesus "over a period of forty days (as He was ) speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God." (Acts 1:3) Luke also records the Lord Jesus teaching them

"Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem (EXACTLY WHAT PETER HAD DONE IN ACTS 2). 48 “You are witnesses of these things. (Lk 24:44-48+)

And so the 3000+ born again Jewish men and women were newborn babes ready to feed on the teaching from the apostles, who would explain the things they knew about Jesus and the mission He had left for them to complete. In short the apostles were obeying Jesus' command to make disciples, the so-called "Great Commission" - “Go therefore and make disciples (matheteuo - aorist imperative) of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”(Mt 28:19-20). And so now the apostles were "teaching them." It is fascinating that the most common designation for believers in Acts is not believers but disciples. Saints are born again in a moment. Disciples are trained up over a lifetime. Dear older mature believer, are you making disciples? Are you teaching them to observe Jesus' commands? Are you explaining to them that they must daily learn to die to self and surrender to the Spirit of Jesus in order to experience His supernatural power to bear fruit that endures eternally? 

Related Resources:

  1. Make Disciples 1
  2. Make Disciples 2 - Study of Five Most Important Passages for Believers
  3. Make Disciples 3 - Comparing Filled with the Spirit and filled with the Word
  4. Make Disciples 4
  5. Make Disciples 5
  6. Make Disciples 6
  7. Make Disciples 7
  8. Make Disciples 8

Apostle (652)(apostolos) refers to one sent with a commission. In its broadest sense, apostle can refer to all believers, because every believer is sent into the world as a witness for Christ. But the term is primarily used as a specific and unique title for the thirteen men (the Twelve, with Matthias replacing Judas, and Paul) whom Christ personally chose and commissioned to authoritatively proclaim the gospel and lead the early church. The thirteen apostles not only were all called directly by Jesus but all were witnesses of His resurrection, Paul having encountered Him on the Damascus Road after His ascension (Acts 9:3-6). Those thirteen apostles were given direct revelation of God’s Word to proclaim authoritatively, the gift of healing, and the power to cast out demons (Mt 10:1). By these signs their teaching authority was verified (cf. 2 Co 12:12). Their teachings became the foundation of the church (Ep 2:20+), and their authority extended beyond local bodies of believers to the entire believing world. In the present context Peter uses apostle in its more common specialized or restricted meaning. While we do not today have apostles in the sense of these first 13 apostles, we do have access to their teaching - 27 books in the New Testament! Be careful not to substitute other "good" writings (devotionals, Christian books, etc) for the pure milk of the Word of teaching from the apostles. Teaching with substitutes will not make disciples, but instead will produce weak believers whose faith wavers because it is not founded on the firm foundation of God's Word (cf association of faith and word in Ro 10:17+). 

Teaching (instruction) (1322)(didache from didasko = to give instruction in a formal or informal setting with the highest possible development of the pupil as the goal; English = didactic = instructive, intended to teach, particularly in having moral instruction as an ulterior motive) is a noun which describes the activity of teaching (instruction). Teaching in the active sense describes the activity itself, and in the passive sense describes what is taught.

The related word is didaskalia which means doctrine. Sadly, many folks say doctrine is to dry, but the early church understood that doctrine is the foundation of everything else. And as an aside, if you are teaching doctrine and it is dry, shame on you! This is the living and active Word of God which will never pass away. The teaching of the apostles was orthodox, and any teaching that departs from their orthodox position is heterodox.

It is interesting that didache is the name of an early Christian teaching, but that of course is not what didache refers to in this context. 


Luke's uses of didache - Lk. 4:32; Jn. 7:16; Jn. 7:17; Jn. 18:19; Acts 2:42; Acts 5:28; Acts 13:12; Acts 17:19

Gilbrant observes that "Their acceptance of Christ and the gift of the Spirit opened up to them a whole new understanding of God's plan and purpose. With joy, they became hungry to learn more. (The Complete Biblical Library – Acts)


They were continually devoting fellowship - The fellowship was far more than just "getting together." Sadly the word fellowship has degenerated into a time when believers come together to socialize, but that is not that the word originally meant! Small group ministry is a wonderful thought, but how many times does it end up being more a time of socializing and perhaps sharing a few prayer requests? How many times is it centered about the "apostles' teaching" (study of the New Testament) which is led by men of the Book who are gifted to teach and mature in their faith? Sadly, I fear not often enough!

Adrian Rogers - Fellowship is not coffee and donuts. Fellowship is not as some people cutely say two people, two fellows in the same ship.

John Phillips writes that the infant church "was a company marked by the tie, that blessed "tie that binds our hearts in Christian love."" (Play "Blest the Tie that Binds" by Bill Gaither) They continued "in fellowship." New links of love were forged that day, a new community created. John wrote later: "We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren" (1 John 3:14). The church is a Body, the mystical Body of Christ. Union with the Head means union with the members." (Exploring Acts)

Fellowship (2842)(koinonia from koinos = that which is in common, belonging to several) describes the experience of having something in common and/or of sharing things in common with others. It describes a close association involving mutual interests and sharing or to have communion ("intimate fellowship") It denotes the active, joint participation, cooperation and/or sharing in a common interest or activity. 

McGee on the root word "koinos" - Adolf Deissmann, in his scholarly research in the field of archaeology, threw tremendous light upon New Testament Greek when he discovered the Koine, the vernacular – which means that the New Testament was written in the common everyday Greek of that time. This gives a good understanding of the statement: …And the common people heard him [Christ] gladly. (Mark 12:37) That language was shared by more people of the Roman Empire than any other language. It was understood on the wharves of Corinth and on every ship that sailed the Mediterranean. It was in common use in Jerusalem, in the Temple area, in Athens, on Mars Hill, and it found its way even into the amphitheatre. This language of the New Testament was a universal language. It was called “koine” because it was common to everyone

Paul emphasizes the role of the Holy Spirit in true (spiritual) fellowship - the Holy Spirit brings about unity in the body...

 2 Corinthians 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with you all.

Philippians 2:1+ Therefore if (SINCE) there is any encouragement in Christ, if (SINCE) there is any consolation of love, if (SINCE) there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if (SINCE) any affection and compassion,

ILLUSTRATION OF FELLOWSHIP OF THE SPIRIT -  Adrian Rogers elaborates on the tuning of instruments: Now, we have a piano here, and we have a piano here. Those pianos ought to be in tune. And, Jim, I was listening this morning—they are; you'll be happy to know that. Those pianos ought to be in tune. Now, I don't know a lot about tuning pianos, but I've read this, and I believe it to be true: that it is virtually impossible to tune one piano to another piano. But, if you get a tuning fork, and tune that piano to the tuning fork, and tune this piano to the tuning fork, do you know what happens? Ipso facto—they're in tune with one another—isn't that true? When you're in tune with Jesus, and I'm in tune with Jesus, then, friend, you're going to be in tune with me, and I'm going to be in tune with you. I mean, that's what happens when we pray—we're seeking God together. (Ed: Bring a tuning instrument to show what happens to the sound of a piano or guitar that is out of tune! Now think about the "music" made by a local Body of Christ which is OUT OF TUNE! Instead of a "symphony" [a harmony of sounds!] it becomes a "cacophony [loud confusing disagreeable sounds]!" Woe!)

Marvin Vincent on fellowship - A relation between individuals which involves a common interest and a mutual, active participation in that interest and in each other. The word answers to the Latin communio, from communis, common. Thus Philippians 1:5: "your fellowship in the gospel," signifying co-operation in the widest sense; participation in sympathy, suffering, and labor. Compare 1 John 1:3, 6, 7. Occasionally it is used to express the particular form which the spirit of fellowship assumes; as in Ro 15:26; Heb 13:16, where it signifies the giving of alms, but always with an emphasis upon the principle of Christian fellowship which underlies the gift.

Tertullian recounts that when the Roman government became suspicious of the early church, they sent spies into their services. The spies came back and said that the Christians were a peculiar type of folk – they did not have idols, instead they worshiped One by the name of Jesus, who was absent. Then they added, “How those Christians love each other; how they have fellowship (koinonia) one with the other.” That should be the mark of the Christian through all ages.

David Guzik has some practical descriptions of the what fellowship should look like among believers:

  • We share the same Lord Jesus.
  • We share the same guide for life.
  • We share the same love for God
  • We share the same desire to worship Him.
  • We share the same struggles.
  • We share the same victories
  • We share the same job of living for Him.
  • We share the same joy of communicating the gospel.

Related Resources: 

Toussaint: The omission of “and” between “fellowship” and “to the breaking of bread and to prayer” indicates the last two activities are appositional to fellowship.

They were continually devoting themselves... to the breaking of bread - "It was a company marked by the table." (Phillips) This refers to the celebration of the Lord's Supper but could also refer to an independent fellowship meal. Certainly the Lord's Supper (the Passover Meal) instituted by Jesus followed an actual meal. Most agree this phrase certainly includes the Lord's Supper. We know that the Lord's Supper or Communion was not optional, for twice in Paul's description he quotes the Lord Jesus as twice saying "Do this," (1 Cor 11:24, 25) and both times "Do" is in the present imperative, which is a command to do this continually. While He did not further stipulate, it seems to me that many, if not most churches do it more "intermittently" (once a month) rather than "continually." This is sad and surely has significant repercussions. Why would that be the case? If Communion is practiced as Paul instructs the church, while it is a celebration, it is also a time for honest self-examination (aka Ps 139:23, 24) and the merciful opportunity to confess and repent of any ongoing sin or sin patterns. Thus the Body of Christ is (at least potentially) purged and purified. To minimize Communion minimizes the confrontation of sins in the lives of the believers in that local Body. And why should Communion exert such a purging, purifying effect? Paul was very clear that Communion is a "dangerous" thing for believers with unconfessed sins. I fear this truth is too often minimized or toned down. Listen to Paul's words (1 Cor 11:26-31)...

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.  27 Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner (BE CAREFUL HERE - PAUL IS NOT SAYING ANY OF US ARE "WORTHY" PER SE - IT HAS TO REFER TO UNCONFESSED SINS. DON'T ABSTAIN FROM COMMUNION BECAUSE YOU THINK YOU ARE UNWORTHY. DO ABSTAIN IF YOU ARE IN BLATANT SIN AND UNWILLING TO CONFESS IT!), shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. 28 But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly. 30 For this reason (WHAT REASON?) many (WHAT IS THE ADJECTIVE? NOT FEW!) among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep (SLEEP IS EUPHEMISTICALLY USED TO DESCRIBE A BELIEVER'S DEATH). 31 But if we judged ourselves rightly, we would not be judged....

Comment - When was the last time you heard someone give the preparation for Communion and say "Be careful how you take the Lord's Supper. You could become weak, sick or die if you take it in an unworthy manner."? In 34 years as a believer, I cannot  honestly say I have ever heard a pastor emphasize Paul's words of warning. Could this have anything to do with the Church's lack of supernatural power in America? Just asking you to ponder that thought.

I can remember one Sunday when we were celebrating Communion and my wife suddenly got up and went to speak with a lady in another part of the church. I had no idea what was transpiring. When she returned, she told me that she could not take Communion with a clear conscience until she went to lady and confessed he unforgiving spirit toward that lady and asked for her forgiveness. She took Paul's warning literally! 

Let us also mention one other practical blessing that of regularly celebrating the Lord's Supper. In 1 Cor 11:26 notice that this verse is "historical" and "prophetic" - it looks back remembering Christ's death on the Cross, but it also looks forward to the Blessed Hope (Titus 2:13+) of Christ's Second Coming. (See also Vertical Vision). The truth of the Second Coming should motivate a life of holiness (cf 1 Jn 3:2-3+), for what (Who) one is looking for will determine what (Who) one is living for! In short, the Lord's Supper should motivate daily sin confessing and daily sin killing! (cf Col 3:5+).

David Guzik makes an excellent point regarding the first church's celebration of communion - Even living so close to the time when Jesus was crucified, they still never wanted to forget what He did on the cross. How much more important is it for us to never forget? (Acts 2 Commentary)

John Phillips says "In baptism we show our death with Christ; in breaking of bread we show His death for us."

Related Resources:

They were continually devoting prayer - The Greek word here always refers to prayers to God. What has happened to the old fashioned "prayer meetings?" I think they have gone out of fashion! 

Persevering prayer is still the charge to a church that would be an "Acts 2 Church"...

rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, (Ro 12:12+)

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving;(Col. 4:2+)

As Phillips phrases it the infant church "was a company marked by the throne. The name of Jesus opened up prayer opportunities never before known, for now we have instant access to the throne of grace (Heb 4:16+). Every aspect of individual life and corporate life can now be related to the throne and to that great High Priest who sits at God's right hand."

Prayer (4335)(proseuche from pros = toward or immediately before + euchomai = to pray or vow) is the more general word for prayer. The prefix pros would convey the sense of being immediately before God and hence the ideas of adoration, devotion, and worship. The basic idea is to bring something, and in prayer this pertains to bringing up prayer requests. In early Greek culture an offering was brought with a prayer that it be accepted. Later the idea was changed slightly, so that the thing brought to God was a prayer. In later Greek, prayers appealed to God for His presence.

Prayer is the slender nerve that moves the muscles of omnipotence. The apostles had heard Jesus last teaching on prayer in the Upper Room Discourse (John 13-16) and now they were practicing what He preached when He said "Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it." (Jn 14:13-14). 

Related Resources:

Acts 2:43   Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.

KJV Acts 2:43 And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.

  • Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe Acts 5:11,13; Esther 8:17; Jer 33:9; Hosea 3:5; Luke 7:16; 8:37
  • and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles Acts 3:6-9; 4:33; Acts 5:12,15,16; Acts 9:34,40; Mark 16:17; John 14:12
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Everyone - (Literally every soul) -  The text does not state with certainty whether this refers just to the believers or whether it included the unsaved Jews in Jerusalem. One would think the latter as many wonders and signs would point to a supernatural Source, God, and the believers already knew God through their faith in Christ. Certainly Luke's descriptions of the wonders and signs performed through Peter (Acts 3:6-9) and Paul in the rest of Acts were performed before unbelievers. Luke gives a good summary in Acts 4:33 writing "And with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and abundant grace was upon them all." And again in Acts 5:12 Luke records "At the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were taking place among the people; and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s portico." 

These supernatural signs pointed to Who Jesus really was as Peter clearly declared when he healed the lame man declaring “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene–walk!” (Acts 3:6) And in Acts 9:34 Peter "said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed.” Immediately he got up." Clearly the miraculous healing was meant to point to Jesus Christ, not to Peter. 

Of course not everyone was filled with awe, but some were filled with jealousy! In the context of multiple healings "the high priest rose up, along with all his associates (that is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with jealousy. They laid hands on the apostles and put them in a public jail." (Acts 5:17-18).

MacArthur adds "The life of this first fellowship was so genuine and spiritually powerful that everyone, whether inside or outside the church, kept feeling a sense of awe. They weren't awed by the church because of its buildings, programs, or anything reflecting human ability, but by the supernatural character of its life. Such an effect should be produced when the spiritual gifts are properly operative (1 Cor. 14:24, 25). (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Acts)

Kept feeling a sense of awe - NET = "Reverential awe came over everyone." Note that both verbs Kept feeling and taking place are in the imperfect tense signifying this sense of awe was occurring over and over, again and again as were the wonders and signs

A T Robertson adds that the two imperfect tenses indicate that "Awe kept on coming on all and signs and wonders kept on coming through the apostles. The two things went on pari passu, the more wonders the more fear." (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

John Phillips sadly writes "The church does not instill much fear today. The professing church accepts such low standards for its fellowship that lying, immorality, questionable doctrine, deception, and even perversion are allowed. We have forgotten the divine injunction "Be ye holy; for I am holy" (1 Pet. 1:16). We have forgotten that the believer's body and the corporate body of the church are alike the Temple of the Holy Spirit. The infant church was holy. It was fresh from the hand of God, pristine in purity, untouched as yet by any wrongful act, so "fear came upon every soul." Those who were within feared-feared lest they defile and disgrace the holy fellowship of blood-washed saints. Those who were without feared-feared to join its ranks with sin-stained souls unwashed, uncleansed by the precious blood of Christ." (Exploring Acts)

MacArthur - Now this word awe is reserved for special times in Scripture. It's reserved for those times when people’s minds are struck with an awe that is based on something divine that they can't explain. And there are Many good illustrations of its use one classic one is in Luke 7:11, "And it came to pass the next day that He went into a city called Nain and many of His disciples went with Him and much people", this is Jesus, "When He came near to the gate of the city behold there was a dead man being carried out the only son of his mother and she was a widow", here comes a funeral procession marching along and they've got the guy in his little bier thing, casket, "And when the Lord saw her He had compassion on her and said unto her, Weep not", don't cry - I love this, "And He came and touched the bier and they that bore him stood still. And He said, Young man I say unto thee Arise". Can you imagine what that must have caused, the reaction? "And he that was dead sat up and began to speak." Just imagine what that must have caused. And He said, "And He delivered him to his mother, and there came a fear on all". Now that doesn't mean they were afraid. It says in the next statement, "And they glorified God". You see, it's that idea that God is doing something. And they said, "There's a prophet come to our place". It is being unable to explain the divine that leaves you in a sense of awe. (The First Fellowship)

Sense of awe (5401)(phobos - Eng = "phobia") can refer to that which causes fear or terror (1 Pe 3:14), but in this context has the meaning of respect, reverence, awe or "wholesome fear." MacArthur adds that "Phobos (awe) refers to fear or holy terror related to the sense of divine presence, to the attitude of reverence. It describes the feeling produced when one realizes God is at hand. It is used in Acts 5:5, 11 to describe the reaction to the deaths of Ananias and Sapphira. In Acts 19:17 it depicts the reaction of the citizens of Ephesus to the attack on some Jewish exorcists by a demon-possessed man. Luke 7:16 uses it to portray the reaction to our Lord's raising of the widow's son.

In Acts 9:31 Luke records that "the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase." 

As an aside, a healthy fear of the Lord (see Fear of the Lord) is a good thing for the creature to have and in fact is one Paul's "characteristics" of those who are unregenerate (not born again), under the power of Sin (Ro 3:9+), writing "THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.” (Ro 3:18+)

All Luke's uses of phobos -  Lk. 1:12; Lk. 1:65; Lk. 5:26; Lk. 7:16; Lk. 8:37; Lk. 21:26;  Acts 2:43; Acts 5:5; Acts 5:11; Acts 9:31; Acts 19:17

And many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles - Notice the wonders and signs were through the apostles, not the disciples in general. Notice also that the word "through" is dia (1223) which here describes the apostles as the "instrument" through which God worked supernatural works. Luke records an example in the next chapter, Acts 3:1-10+ describing the healing of a lame man and Acts 3:11-26 describing Peter's address associated with the healing.

John Phillips - The infant church had more than purity; it had power. The gift of the apostles included the power to work miracles. An ungrieved Holy Spirit poured out His power upon those men, and soon Jerusalem rang with stories of miraculous healings. It was as though Jesus of Nazareth were back, as though He were walking again-giving sight to the blind, making the deaf to hear, the dumb to talk, the dead to live, the lame to walk, cleansing the leper, casting out demons. And so He was. Only now it was His mystical Body that was the vehicle of divine power rather than the material body in which He had lived when in the flesh. (Exploring Acts)

For discussion of wonders and signs see use of the same Greek words by Peter in his description of Jesus the Nazarene in Acts 2:22. The purpose of wonders and signs as with the ministry of Jesus was to attract attention and point to spiritual truth and ultimately to Jesus Christ. An excellent example of this purpose is seen in Acts 9:32-35

Now as Peter was traveling through all those regions, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda. 33 There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years, for he was paralyzed. 34 Peter said to him, “Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you (THE HEALER); get up and make your bed.” Immediately he got up (THE HEALING). 35 (THE IMPACT ON THE JEWS) And all who lived at Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord

Comment - It is fascinating that these miracles were performed by Jesus but as best we can tell from the Gospels very few Jews who witnessed Jesus' miracles acknowledged Him as their Lord. This reminds us of Jesus' promise to His apostles that "greater works than these shall he do; because I go to the Father (FROM WHICH HE OF COURSE WOULD SEND THE SPIRIT)." (Jn 14:12) The greater work that Jesus was referring to was not that the apostles would do greater miracles or even more miracles but that their miracles would result in many more believers than the similar miracles produced in Jesus' lifetime.

Horton points out that "In all missionary advances in the Book of Acts, the Word was accompanied by miraculous signs and wonders (cf. Acts 4:30; 5:12; 14:8-10; 15:12; 19:10-12; cf. 1 Thess. 1:5). (Acts: A Logion Press Commentary)

Recall that signs (4592) (see semeion) are something miraculous that points to something else. In this context the signs authenticated both "the message and the messenger, pointing observers toward a divine source of the miracle or a divine truth. Here these signs and wonders authenticated the apostles' message, identifying it as divine truth." (LABC)

Here is an old chorus that expresses the awe every believer should pray they might experience in the presence of the Lord...

(Another version)
You are beautiful beyond description
Too marvelous for words
Too wonderful of comprehension
Like nothing ever seen or heard
Who can grasp you infinite wisdom
Who can fathom the depth of Your love
You are beautiful beyond description
Majesty enthroned above.

And I stand, I stand in awe of You
I stand, I stand in awe of You
Holy God to Whom all praise is due
I stand in awe of You.

Acts 2:44  And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common;

KJV Acts 2:44 And all that believed were together, and had all things common;

  • had all things in common Acts 4:32; Acts 5:4; Acts 6:1-3; 2 Cor 8:9,14,15; 9:6-15; 1 John 3:16-18
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries

And all those who had believed - Belief is in the present tense indicating it their belief was an integral part of their lifestyle.

Believed (4100) (pisteuo from pistispistos) means to consider something to be true and therefore worthy of one’s trust. They accepted all the revelations of Christ as true and were firmly convicted of His goodness, His power and His nearness to help in life and at the time of death. Beloved, keep in mind that a lot of people in America say "I believe in Jesus," (or "I know about Jesus") but sadly that belief (or knowledge) for many (God is their Judge of course) is more of an intellectual belief (a mental assent, "head" knowledge) much like the "many" Jesus describes in Mt 7:21-23+. On the other hand, genuine belief that leads to salvation, involves not only the consent of one's mind, but an act of one's heart and will. 

All of Luke's uses of pisteuo

Lk. 1:20; Lk. 1:45; Lk. 8:12; Lk. 8:13; Lk. 8:50; Lk. 16:11; Lk. 20:5; Lk. 22:67; Lk. 24:25; Acts 2:44; Acts 4:4; Acts 4:32; Acts 5:14; Acts 8:12; Acts 8:13; Acts 8:37; Acts 9:26; Acts 9:42; Acts 10:43; Acts 11:17; Acts 11:21; Acts 13:12; Acts 13:39; Acts 13:41; Acts 13:48; Acts 14:1; Acts 14:23; Acts 15:5; Acts 15:7; Acts 15:11; Acts 16:31; Acts 16:34; Acts 17:12; Acts 17:34; Acts 18:8; Acts 18:27; Acts 19:2; Acts 19:4; Acts 19:18; Acts 21:20; Acts 21:25; Acts 22:19; Acts 24:14; Acts 26:27; Acts 27:25

Related Resource:

Were together - Were together is in the imperfect tense indicating that the believers made a practice of meeting together (again and again). "Remember in what different countries they had been born. The Temple had drawn them to live in Jerusalem, and now their believing drew them together in a different, deeper, and far truer way. Faith in Christ was the bond which made one body of these believers even outwardly." (Lenski (Borrow the interpretation of the acts of the apostles))

Guzik - The Jews had a tremendous custom of hospitality during any major feast like Pentecost. Visitors were received into private homes, and no one could charge for giving a bed or a room to a visitor or for supplying their basic needs. The Christians took this tremendous feast-time hospitality and made it an everyday thing. (Acts 2 Commentary)

And had all things in common - Had is in the imperfect tense which means they "kept on having, a habit in the present emergency (ED: MANY OF THE NEW BELIEVERS WERE FROM OTHER COUNTRIES, REMOVED FROM THEIR NORMAL SUPPLY OF SHELTER AND SUPPLY)." (ATR)

A T Robertson on had all things in common - It was not actual communism, but they held all their property ready for use for the common good as it was needed (Acts 4:32). This situation appears nowhere else except in Jerusalem and was evidently due to special conditions there which did not survive permanently. Later Paul will take a special collection for the poor saints in Jerusalem. (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

Luke records a similar description of the sharing nature of the first church

And the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them. (Acts 4:32)

Life Application Bible Commentary helps us understand the unique situation of this first church composed of residents of Jerusalem and pilgrims from other countries -  Of the thousands of Jews who had made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem for Pentecost, many may have come as early as Passover (fifty days earlier). Now they were extending their stay in Jerusalem even longer to learn the basics of this newfound Christian faith. Many would likely need financial or physical help from those who lived in Jerusalem to be able to remain this long. When a need arose, believers would sell their possessions to help the needy person. This practice of having everything in common was likely a response to that specific need. After the incidents of Acts 5:1-11 (Ananias and Sapphira), there is no further mention of this particular practice of sharing everything, at least to the extent that it was practiced in the first few weeks of the church's life. (Life Application Bible Commentary – Acts)

Common (2839)(koinos) is related to the word for fellowship in Acts 2:42 (koinonia) and the sense in the present context is that of common property in the sense of property ready to be shared if needed. In a spiritual sense koinos was used to describe "a common faith" (Titus 1:4) and a "common salvation" (Jude 1:3) Because of their spiritual communion, the natural (supernatural) fruit was material communion. When we realize we are all pilgrims, and all equal at the foot of the Cross and that we will spend eternity together with Christ, sharing becomes not a burden but a blessing. When our vision of our life is predominantly vertical, it radically impacts our horizontal lifestyle. (See Vertical Vision). For completeness, note that koinos in some contexts can mean profane (Heb 10:29) or unclean (Rev 21:27). Koinos also gives us the word Koine which was the Greek language commonly spoken and written in the Near East in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. 

John Phillips - It was a true body, each member caring for and nourishing each other member. Here we see the answer to the Lord's prayer: That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (Acts 17:20-24) This was true ecumenicalism. The oneness of the early church was organic oneness, not organized oneness. There was a mutual caring and concern for other believers. There was a spontaneous coming together of like-minded believers in love with the Lord, in love with each other, in love with lost souls. (Exploring Acts)

ILLUSTRATION - A young fellow who was fed up with church went to see this wise old Christian in his cabin to get some advice. He told him all the things that were bothering him about church, and how he felt that he would be better off without the company of other Christians. As he was speaking, the old man silently took the fire tongs and removed a red-hot glowing coal from the middle of the fire and set it on the hearth. The coal glowed for a while, but eventually dimmed and turned black. He let it sit there a while and then took the tongs and places the coal back in the middle of the fire. Within seconds the coal was glowing red hot once again. The young man took the wordless lesson and left determined to stay with church. Just as coals soon burn out when they are removed from the company of other coals, we will not last long in the faith if we are removed from true fellowship.

A New Community

Read: Acts 2:1–12, 42–47 

All the believers were together and had everything in common. Acts 2:44

My friend Carrie’s five-year-old daughter, Maija, has an interesting approach to playtime. She loves mixing together dolls from different playsets to come up with a new community. In the world of her imagination, everything belongs together. These are her people. She believes they are happiest when they’re together, despite being different sizes and shapes.

Her creativity reminds me of God’s purpose for the church. On the day of Pentecost, Luke tells us, “Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5). Though these people were from different cultures and spoke different languages, the Holy Spirit’s arrival made them a new community: the church. From then on, they would be considered one body, unified by the death and resurrection of Jesus.

As believers in Christ, we belong together.

The leaders of this new body were a group of men Jesus brought together during His time on earth—His disciples. If Jesus hadn’t united them, more than likely they would never have come together. And now more people—“about three thousand” (2:41)—had become Christ-followers. Thanks to the Holy Spirit, this once divided group “had everything in common” (v. 44). They were willing to share what they had with each other.

The Holy Spirit continues to bridge the gaps between people groups. We might not always get along, nor readily understand one another. But as believers in Christ, we belong together.

Jesus, thank You for dying for us and uniting us as one people in the church.

The Holy Spirit turns “us” and “them” into “we.” 

By Linda Washington (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Acts 2:45  and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need.

KJV Acts 2:45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.

  • they began selling their property and possessions  Acts 4:34-37; 5:1,2; 11:29; Luke 12:33,34; 16:9; 18:22; 19:8
  • were sharing them with all Ps 112:9; Pr 11:24,25; 19:17; Eccl 11:1,2; Isa 58:7-12; 2 Cor 9:1,9; 1 Ti 6:18,19; James 2:14-16; 5:1-5; 1 Jn 3:17
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


And they began selling their property and possessions - When the Spirit opens the eyes of our heart to receive a vision of eternity, "the things of this earth grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace." Our "give me's" are transformed into "gives!" 

NET Note on the two similar words property and possessions - It is possible that the first term for property (ktemata) refers to real estate (as later usage seems to indicate) while the second term (huparxeis) refers to possessions in general, but it may also be that the two terms are used together for emphasis, simply indicating that all kinds of possessions were being sold. However, if the first term is more specifically a reference to real estate, it foreshadows the incident with Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5:1–11.

Stanley Toussaint makes an interesting comment (you be the judge if it applies to the church today!) - The selling of property and the common possession of the proceeds may imply that the early church expected the Lord to return soon and establish His kingdom. This may explain why the practice was not continued.

[Began] selling (4097)(piprasko from perao = to cross, to transport to a distant land) means literally to sell, and is used figuratively of one "sold into bondage to sin" picturing sin as "possessing" the individual, thus a "slave to Sin!" (Woe!) (Ro 7:14+

TDNT on piprasko - In secular Greek piprasko means literally “to sell,” “to sell for a bribe,” or “to lease,” and figuratively “betrayed,” “sold out,” “led astry,” of “mined.” The NT also uses piprasko literally for “to sell” (Mt. 13:46; 18:25; Acts 2:45, etc.), and the figurative sense appears in Rom. 7:14 to describe the desperate plight of the person “sold under sin.” [H. PREISKER, VI, 160] (Borrow Kittel's Theological Dictionary of the New Testament : abridged in one volume)

Piprasko - 9x in 9v - sales(1), selling(1), sold(7) - Matt. 13:46; Matt. 18:25; Matt. 26:9; Mk. 14:5; Jn. 12:5; Acts 2:45; Acts 4:34; Acts 5:4; Ro 7:14

Piprasko - 32x in 31v in the Septuagint - Ge 31:15; Ex. 22:3; Lev. 25:23; Lev. 25:34; Lev. 25:39; Lev. 25:42; Lev. 25:47; Lev. 25:48; Lev. 27:27; Deut. 15:12; Deut. 21:14; Deut. 28:68; 1 Sam. 23:7; 1 Ki. 21:20; 1 Ki. 21:25; 2 Ki. 17:17; Est. 7:4; Ps. 105:17; Isa. 48:10; Isa. 50:1; Isa. 52:3; Jer. 34:14; Ezek. 48:14; 

And were sharing them with all as anyone might have need - The qualifying phrase is important. The sharing was based on need. The imperfect tense of were sharing brings this aspect out nicely, for this tense pictures the saints as sharing over and over, again and again. A need would arise and they would share, etc. 

Boice - The early Christians shared their possessions, not because they were communists or socialists – not because they were forced to share their things – but for a far better reason. They shared their goods because they were generous, and they were generous because they had learned generosity from God. God had been generous with them. So because God had been generous with them, they were determined to be generous with one another.

Sharing (1266)(diamerizo) means to divide or distribute like the "tongues as of fire" that were "distributing themselves" on the 120 disciples (Acts 2:3+), picturing the "sharing" (so to speak) of the Holy Spirit. How fitting that here those who "shared" in the Holy Spirit (all 3000 + 120) would willingly (supernaturally enabled by the Spirit as described in Php 2:13NLT+) share in their possessions/goods with their believing brethren in need. 

Guzik - With the influx of more that 3,000 believers, most of whom stayed in Jerusalem and didn’t have jobs, the family of Christians had to share if they were to survive. We shouldn’t regard this as an early experiment in communism because it was voluntary, temporary, and flawed to the extent that the church in Jerusalem was in continual need of financial support from other churches. Also, we don’t have any evidence this continued very long. (ED: AS NOTED ABOVE THERE IS NO MENTION OF THIS PRACTICE AFTER ACTS 5)....The Jews had a tremendous custom of hospitality during any major feast like Pentecost; all visitors were received into private homes, and no one could charge for giving a bed or a room to a visitor or for supplying their basic needs. The Christians took this tremendous feast-time hospitality and made it an everyday thing. (Acts 2 Commentary)

ILLUSTRATION - When I was a lad in high school, I went once on a camping trip with some of the boys from school, organized by several of the teachers. During the day we helped the war effort by assisting farmers in the harvest fields. At night we sat around a campfire or played games. One of the teachers was a communist. He used his influence to try to persuade us to espouse his social and political views. He appealed to the early church as being communistic-people shared. The motto was: From each according to his ability, to each according to his need. "That was the slogan of the early church," he said; "that is the slogan of communists today." The flaw in his argument is obvious. The sharing of the early church was spontaneous and motivated by Holy Spirit love. It was not a totalitarian system clamped on people against their will.  An open-air preacher was being heckled by a communist in the crowd. About that time a drunken derelict staggered past, a pitiable object, down at heel and arrayed in rags. The communist pointed to him. "Given the opportunity," he said, "Communism would put a new suit on that man. What does your Christianity do for him?" Said the preacher, "Given the opportunity, Christ would put a new man in that suit." That was the secret of the mutual sharing of the early church. This was no government or ecclesiastical welfare program. This was not cold charity. This was the Body at work. This was the hand caring for the foot, the eye looking out for the ear. This was love, not law; compassion, not compulsion. The communist ideal is noble enough, but it breaks down because it leaves out God and relies on force (John Phillips)

Acts 2:46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart,

KJV Acts 2:46 And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

  • Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple Acts 1:14; 3:1; 5:42; Luke 24:53
  • breaking bread  Acts 2:42; 20:7
  • from house to house. Acts 1:13; 1 Cor 11:20-22
  • they were taking their meals together with gladness Acts 16:34; Dt 12:7,12; 16:11; Nehemiah 8:10; Eccl 9:7; Luke 11:41; 1 Cor 10:30,31 
  • sincerity of heart  Ps 86:11; Mt 6:22; Ro 12:8; 2 Cor 1:12; 11:3; Eph 6:5; Col 3:22
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


Day by day - The idea is daily. Their fellowship was not restricted to Sundays, but continued throughout the week. "Christians were not content to just be one another once a week for services; they were a true community – meeting as often as possible – both informally and for teaching and worship times." (proskartereo) in Acts 2:42 to describe the church's continual activities. Here the word describes their continual spiritual mindset of the disciples. Continuing is in the present tense so one might say they were continually continuing! O what a fellowship it must have been!

With one mind (3661)(homothumadon/homothymadon from a combination of homos = same + thumos/thymos = temperament or mind) means with one mind, unity of purpose, of one accord. In a word it means together. One lexicon says homothumadon means "to be of one soul." It speaks of an action agreed upon unanimously (with one impulse) or by common consent. Homothumadon was frequently used in secular settings to describe the unanimity of a synod, of creditors, of a husband and wife, of brother. 

Was it not the essence of homothumadon for which Jesus prayed - “And the glory which Thou hast given Me I have given to them; that they may be one, just as We are one." (John 17:22) And so here in Acts 2:42-47 we see part of God's answer to Jesus' prayer in John 17! The ultimate answer will be when we are all together in His presence! O glorious day!

It is fascinating (and probably in an accident) that the adverb humothumadon is used most often in the Book of Acts - Acts 1:14; Acts 2:46; Acts 4:24; Acts 5:12; Acts 7:57; Acts 8:6; Acts 12:20; Acts 15:25; Acts 18:12; Acts 19:29; Rom. 15:6. While many of these uses describe the church, several uses actually describe the opponents of the Gospel! As unified as the believers were to spread the good news, the unbelievers were unified to impede the spread. Of course, the difference is the former had the power of God the Creator, while the latter had the power of the created angel Satan! 

Temple (2413)(hieros) in this context refers to the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem and includes not only the Temple building but the courts and all the sacred ground or enclosure. They would not have been meeting in the Temple building per se but in the courts surrounding the temple proper. Most commentaries agree that the new believers were in the Temple praying, but did not continue their former Jewish practices of offering sacrifices as called for in the Mosaic Law. 

All of Luke's uses of hieros - Lk. 2:27; Lk. 2:37; Lk. 2:46; Lk. 4:9; Lk. 18:10; Lk. 19:45; Lk. 19:47; Lk. 20:1; Lk. 21:5; Lk. 21:37; Lk. 21:38; Lk. 22:52; Lk. 22:53; Lk. 24:53; Acts 2:46; Acts 3:1; Acts 3:2; Acts 3:3; Acts 3:8; Acts 3:10; Acts 4:1; Acts 5:20; Acts 5:21; Acts 5:24; Acts 5:25; Acts 5:42; Acts 19:27; Acts 21:26; Acts 21:27; Acts 21:28; Acts 21:29; Acts 21:30; Acts 22:17; Acts 24:6; Acts 24:12; Acts 24:18; Acts 25:8; Acts 26:21

Breaking bread from house to house - Acts 2:42 says "They were continually devoting themselves to the...breaking of bread." The phrase is the same as in this passage and clearly indicates they were eating meals together, but they were also most likely celebrating the Lord's Supper. If that was the case, it suggests they were celebrating communion almost daily! That is a long way from the common practice in modern churches! 

John Stott comments that "certainly it is always healthy when the more formal and dignified services of the local church are complemented with the informality and exuberance of home meetings. There is no need to polarize between the structured and the unstructured, the traditional and the spontaneous. The church needs both."   (Borrow The message of Acts : the Spirit, the church & the world)

They were taking their meals together - Were taking is the imperfect tense indicating they were doing this over and over. Robertson adds "Imperfect tense again and clearly referring to the regular meals at home. Does it refer also to the possible agapai (see "Love Feasts") or to the Lord's Supper afterwards as they had common meals "from house to house" (kat’ oikon)? We know there were local churches in the homes where they had "worship rooms," the church in the house."  (Word Pictures in the New Testament - Acts 2)

Constable makes an excellent point that we tend to miss in our culture where meals with friends don't take on quite the significance they did in the Orient - In the ancient Near East eating together reflected a common commitment to one another and deep fellowship. A meal shared together was both a mark and a seal of friendship. In contemporary pagan religions the meal formed the central rite of the religion because it established communion between the worshippers and between the worshippers and their god. In Judaism too eating some of the offerings of worship symbolized these things, especially the peace offering. (Acts 2 Commentary)

R C H Lenski - Wherever there was a Christian home its residents partook of their food “in exultation of heart,” with high delight in the grace vouchsafed them, and “in simplicity or singleness of heart,” rejoicing in the one thing that filled their hearts with such joy (Borrow the interpretation of the acts of the apostles)

With gladness and sincerity of heart - CSB = "with a joyful and humble attitude." NIV = "with glad and sincere hearts." NRSV = "with glad and generous hearts." 

Stanley Toussaint observes that "one of the sub-themes of Acts is joy, because a victorious church is a joyful one. (Acts 2:46, 5:41; 8:8, 39; 11:23; 12:14; 13:48, 52; 14:17; 15:3, 31; 16:34; 21:17). (BKC) And I would add that Luke 13:52 helps understand the early church's supernatural joy writing 'And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit." There is the "secret!" Is your church one that outsiders would characterize as "filled with joy?" If not, could it be that you have minimized the role of the Spirit, even doing so perhaps out of fear of being accused of being too radical? Just a thought to ponder.

Gladness (20)(agalliasis See related verb - agalliao) means gladness or extreme joy, often accompanied by words and/or bodily movements, such as jumping, smiling, etc. See discussion of the verb agalliao in 1 Pe 1:6+.  Clearly gladness describes these disciples as unafraid to show the deep down joy over their new found knowledge of the Messiah and new life in Him, for they were now under grace not law (Ro 6:14+). The English dictionary definition of gladness is a feeling characterized by pleasure, contentment or joy. 

Sincerity (858)(aphelotes from apheles = without a stone and thus plain or level, figuratively - simple, without guile or duplicity) literally means smoothness or evenness. Figuratively aphelotes speaks of sincerity, simplicity, humility, purity of intention. LSJM says "simplicity, unworldliness." One of the English definitions of simplicity is "absence of affectation or pretense" which would seem to be an excellent description of these unified disciples, as they met in houses taking their meals together. To use a modern idiom, no one was "putting on airs." There was no "keeping up with the Jones" attitude among these "simple" saints! No wonder they were of "one mind"!

Lenski adds that aphelotes "is derived from an adjective which means “without a stone,” hence perfectly smooth and even, metaphorically, a condition that is undisturbed by anything contrary." (Borrow the interpretation of the acts of the apostles)

Gilbrant writes "Aphelēs, which was used rarely in classical Greek means “simplicity, unworldliness,” for example, in reference to a person. In certain papyri and the New Testament aphelotēs continues to describe unworldly simplicity. Luke used aphelotēs to describe the attitude of “sincerity” in the heart of the primitive Christian community in Jerusalem (Acts 2:46). In their unworldliness, these earliest converts to Christianity shared their possessions, worshiped in the temple, and ate their meals in common (Acts 2:44-46)." (Complete Biblical Library Greek-English Dictionary)

Tony Miano sums up the word aphelotes - The Greek word for “sincerity of heart” has an interesting origin. It literally means “simplicity” and comes from the root word that means, “free from rocks” (Robertson, v. 3, p. 39 40). As John MacArthur has said, “There were no stones of selfishness in their hearts” (p. 89). Although it didn’t always remain that way (the church in Jerusalem would eventually have its share of problems), in the early days of the church their fellowship was simple. It wasn’t bogged down by agendas, ulterior motives, and “What’s in it for me.” Their fellowship was healthy, reverent, and pleasing to God. (Reference)

Acts 2:47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

KJV Acts 2:47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

  • praising God and having favor with all the people Acts 4:21,33; Luke 2:52; 19:48; Ro 14:18
  • the Lord was adding to their number day by day Acts 2:4:39; 5:14; 11:24; 13:48; Ro 8:30; 9:27; 11:5-7; Titus 3:4,5
  • Acts 2 Resources - Multiple Sermons and Commentaries


I like Paul Apple's insightful title of Acts 2:47 as "Vertical and Horizontal Blessing." Apple goes on to add "They spent their time blessing God and God spent His time blessing them Unity comes from everyone praising God rather than promoting self."  (Acts Commentary)

I Howard Marshall on praising - This is one of the few references in Acts to the Christians worshiping God in the sense of rendering thanks to Him. The fewness of such phrases reminds us that according to the New Testament witness Christian gatherings were for instruction, fellowship and prayer; in other words for the benefit of the people taking part; there is less mention of the worship of God, although of course this element was not absent. (Borrow The Acts of the Apostles : an introduction and commentary)

As Jesus said (in a slightly different context but still true in principle) "the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart." The last words in Acts 2:46 are "gladness and sincerity of heart" which naturally (supernaturally) leadD to praising God Whose Spirit had placed that joy, joy, joy down in their hearts! (Play the great little chorus and see if the words don't describe the early church!)

Praising (present tense = continually)(134)(aineo) means to offer praise. To sing praises. In the NT aineo refers only of praise to God. Gilbrant notes that "In secular Greek the terms (FOR PRAISE) are widespread, but they lack the distinctive employment of “praise that is directed toward God” found in the New Testament. Aineo is used mainly by Luke in the NT. I love Luke's first two uses of aineo -

And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”  (Lk. 2:13-14)

The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.(Lk. 2:20)

And in the last use of aineo in Scripture you and I and all these first Jewish disciples will be given a wonderful command

And a voice came from the throne, saying, “Give praise (present imperative = command for us to make this our eternal practice!!!) to our God, all you His bond-servants, you who fear Him, the small and the great.” (Rev 19:5+ - O Happy Day - the original vesion! Sing along as you imagine that soon coming day!!!)

It is as if the church begins and ends praising God and then continues praising Him forever and ever. Amen!

Aineo - 8x in 8v - Lk. 2:13; Lk. 2:20; Lk. 19:37; Acts 2:47; Acts 3:8; Acts 3:9; Ro 15:11; Rev. 19:5

Aineo - 143x in 123v in the Septuagint

Ge 49:8; Jdg. 16:24; 1 Chr. 16:4, 7, 10; 1 Chr. 16:35,36; 1 Chr. 16:41; 1 Chr. 23:5; 1 Chr. 23:30; 1 Chr. 29:13; 2 Chr. 5:13; 2 Chr. 6:26; 2 Chr. 7:3; 2 Chr. 8:14; 2 Chr. 20:19; 2 Chr. 20:21; 2 Chr. 23:12; 2 Chr. 31:2; Ezr. 3:10; Ezr. 3:11; Neh. 5:13; Neh. 12:24; Neh. 12:36; Est. 4:17; Job 33:30; Job 35:14; Job 38:7; Ps. 18:3; Ps. 22:23; Ps. 22:26; Ps. 35:18; Ps. 56:10; Ps. 63:5; Ps. 69:30; Ps. 69:34; Ps. 74:21; Ps. 84:4; Ps. 100:4; Ps. 102:18; Ps. 107:32; Ps. 109:30; Ps. 113:1; Ps. 113:3; Ps. 115:17; Ps. 116:19; Ps. 119:164; Ps. 119:175; Ps. 135:1; Ps. 135:3; Ps. 145:2; Ps. 146:1; Ps. 146:2; Ps. 146:10; Ps. 147:12; Ps. 148:1-5, 7; Ps. 148:13; Ps. 149:3; Ps. 150:1-6; Prov. 31:26; Prov. 31:30; Prov. 31:31; Cant. 6:9; Isa. 38:18; Isa. 62:9; Jer. 4:2; Jer. 20:13; Jer. 31:5; Jer. 31:7; Dan. 2:23; Dan. 4:1; Dan. 4:34; Dan. 4:37; Dan. 5:4; Dan. 5:23; Joel 2:26

MacArthur on joy and praising God - Well, what produced that joy? Well, part of it was produced in verse 46 by singleness of heart, unity brings joy doesn't it? When we're one we're experiencing joy. And then verse 47, they had one mind praising God. Did you know that everybody, watch this, if everybody's involved in praising God and giving Him all the glory then everybody's one with everybody else. It's when somebody says - No, God, I want the glory, then you've got problems. That's why the Bible says watch out for those who seek the pre-eminence. Who does the pre- eminence belong to? It belongs to Jesus Christ and to God. You'll never have any conflict in a church until people begin to seek the pre-eminence but as long as we're all singly committed to praising God and exalting the Savior then we're one with each other. If you're concerned with praising yourself you're never going to be happy because you'll never be able to praise yourself sufficiently because you're not worth praise Did you get that? There's no joy in praising yourself because you wind up the only one involved. There's joy in praising God and seeing what happens as a result. And they had joy because they put their sights on the glory of God and gave Him the praise. Joy comes from unity. Unity comes from everybody praying, everybody praising God. Get it? Joy comes from unity. Unity comes when we all care about God's glory and not our own. (The First Fellowship)

Brian Bill -  In a book by Miraslav Volk called Exclusion and Embrace, he says that there are really only two options available to us in relationships. We can embrace people, take them by the hand, do life with them and open our heart to them. Or, we can exclude people, to grow cold and distant and to shut people out of our life.

Having favor with all the people Having is in the present tense indicating the disciples were continually enjoying the good will of all the people. And what is amazing is that this favorable reception with other Jews even occurred in the Temple (Acts 2:46), where the believers were still going. What the unsaved Jews witnessed were men and women whose lives had been transformed. Of course, this was before the intense persecution that would eventually come upon the infant church of Jewish believers. But these were glorious days, and their Spirit filled singing was still an attractive sound to the unsaved souls in the city. 

Favor (NET = "good will")(5485)(charis) is used 155x in the NT and is translated grace (or related word like gracious) some 127x and favor 11x (in NAS95).

It follows that charis usually means "God's unmerited favor" but here it is because of that grace or favor bestowed on the believers that there is a graciousness, attractiveness and winsome spirit permeating the early church.

This church reminds me of Paul's great description in 2 Corinthians 

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life (IN THESE EARLY DAYS OF THE CHURCH IT SEEMS THE SAINTS WERE PREDOMINANTLY A "SWEET AROMA" TO MOST OF JERUSALEM). And who is adequate for these things?  (2 Cor 2:14-16)

Proverbs 16:7 adds 

When a man’s ways are pleasing to the LORD, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. 

Jesus commanded us to "Let your light shine (aorist imperative - don't try to "shine" unless your "plugged in"! Aka "be continually filled" = Eph 5:18+) before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven." (Mt 5:16+)

One writer says they church was experiencing something like "fruit flies drawn to ripe fruit." There was something sweet and delightful about Christians. They were not sour faced. 

And the Lord was adding to their number  - Note the sovereignty of God in salvation is clearly taught in this passage. The verb added is in the imperfect tense signifying this "divine addition" was occurring again and again. The Good Hand of the Lord (see in depth study of this great truth) was clearly on the early church!

Constable - Public church buildings were unknown until the third century. At the time chapter two records, there was no significant opposition to the Christian movement, though there was, of course, difference of opinion about Jesus. The believers enjoyed the blessing of their Jewish brethren. People trusted Christ daily, and the Lord added these to the church so that it grew steadily. Luke, in harmony with His purpose (Acts 1:1-2), stressed the Lord Jesus' work in causing the church to grow (Acts 2:47; cf. Mt. 16:18). (Acts 2 Commentary)

Was adding (4369)(prostithemi from from prós = to or besides + títhēmi = to put) means to join to. 3000 were added to the 120. The Body of Christ was growing in numbers. And in Acts 2:47 this same verb is used again to describe the fact that "the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved." Again in Acts 5:14 we read that "multitudes of men and women, were constantly added to their number." And as a result of Barnabas' Spirit filled and faith filled ministry "considerable numbers were brought to the Lord." (Acts 11:24).

Day by day - Day by day means souls were continually being saved. Their winsome witness was a "sweet aroma of the knowledge" of the Messiah permeating the air in Jerusalem and Luke says for some it proved to be "an aroma from life to life," as souls were being saved by believing in Messiah. 

The Lord was adding - The clear implication is that the disciples were filled with the Spirit and boldly witnessing of Jesus their resurrected Messiah, and the Spirit was using their proclamation of Christ to sweep souls into the Kingdom of God! The upshot, is that if a church would seek to imitate the "First Baptist Church of Jerusalem" today, that church would be an evangelizing, Gospel speaking (and Gospel living - cf the winsome witness of their supernatural unity, joy, sincerity, etc), soul winning church! And the Lord would be adding to that church those who were being saved! Yes Lord, do it again in Jesus' Name and for His glory. Amen

And another reason the Lord would be adding to this church is because it was a DISCIPLE MAKING CHURCH, "teaching (the new believers) to observe (enabled by the Spirit) all that" Jesus commanded (Mt 28:20). These new believers would be discipled by the apostles' teaching" (Acts 2:42). It is my firm belief that the modern church has failed to follow this pattern. How many churches do you know where the older, more mature men of One Book, who have walked with Jesus for 20-40 years, are discipling the young men in the 20-40 year old group? Sadly, many churches put these older believers "out to pasture" and the tragedy is they can then no longer pass on the wisdom that comes only with decades of abiding in Jesus and His Word. I pray your church is the exception and praise God that you are the exception.

John Phillips on the Lord was adding - That is the only way anyone can be added to the church. The Lord adds to its members those He saves. "Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it" (Ps. 127:1). The church does not grow by adding to its rolls the names of baptized infants. It does not grow by high-pressure evangelism and doubtful professions of faith. It grows as the Lord adds saved people to its numbers. (Exploring Acts)

John MacArthur writes that Jews "were continually being saved as they observed the daily conduct of the believers. So unified, joyful, and Spirit-filled were they that their very existence was a powerful testimony to the truth of the gospel. True evangelism flows from the life of a healthy church. (MacArthur New Testament Commentary – Acts)

John Stott - He did not add them to the church without saving them (no nominal Christianity at the beginning), nor did he save them without adding them to the church (no solitary Christianity either). Salvation and church membership belonged together; they still do. (Borrow The message of Acts : the Spirit, the church & the world)

Those who were being saved - The Spirit worked salvation in the souls who had seen signs, seen winsome grace-filled disciples and heard clear presentations of the good news that Jesus the Nazarene was not a dead failure, but an alive Conqueror of sin, Satan and death! No wonder the saints were singing songs of praise to the Most High God! 

Being saved (4982)(sozo) is in the present tense meaning that souls were continually being rescued from the damning fires of hell. Notice that being saved is the "divine passive," indicating God as the Agent in rescuing the souls of men from eternal punishment.  

John Phillips on day by day - "The Lord added daily," says Luke. He has been adding to it daily ever since, sometimes by the thousands, sometimes a few here, a few there. Now a child at mother's knee, now an old man dying in his bed. But we can be assured that there has never been a day since Pentecost when the Lord has not added to the church such as should be saved. He will go on doing that, adding and adding until the rapture. (Exploring Acts) (ED: HAS GOD USED YOUR WINSOME WITNESS TO ADD ANY TO HIS CHURCH?)

Steven Cole: Snapshot of a Healthy Church --A healthy church is marked by continual devotion to the Lord, to His people, and to His work in the world. Many years ago, John Stott met a group of Christian students in Argentina who had visited all of the Protestant churches in their city, but could not find any that satisfied them. They had dropped out of the church. He asked them what they were looking for that they could not find. He was startled when, without realizing what they were doing, they went down the list of Acts 2:42 in order. They said that they wanted a church where the pastor faithfully expounded the Bible and related it to where they lived. They were looking for warm, loving, caring, supportive fellowship. They sought a sense of the living God and His greatness in worship. And, they were looking for compassionate outreach (in Christianity Today [6/12/81], p. 21). No church is perfect and none will come close this side of heaven. But as we continually devote ourselves to the Lord through His Word and through worship, as we devote ourselves to the fellowship of His people, and as we devote ourselves to His work in the world, He will use us to glorify Himself. I challenge you to be fervent in your devotion to the Lord and to His church, so that He uses us to reach many in this city and around the globe for His glory.

Paul Apple's conclusion

If you don’t have these 4 contributors to church momentum, you tend to stall out


Ps. 127:1 “Unless the Lord builds the house (GOD'S PART) they labor in vain who build it (MAN'S PART)” – not said by Solomon to discourage the nation but to encourage them to focus their hopes for experiencing blessing and prosperity on the Lord; we need to seek the Lord’s face for these 4 contributors to church momentum ... but we also need to be opening our wallets to share, witnessing as we have opportunity, joining together in glad fellowship and praising the Lord for what He is doing in our midst  (Acts Commentary)

Acts 2:1-4 
How to Keep Your Spiritual Fire Burning
Adrian Rogers

Take your Bibles, God's holy word, and turn to the second chapter of the book of Acts. Now as you're turning to the second chapter of the book of Acts, may I tell you that a New Testament, spirit-filled church is a mighty weapon in the hands of a holy God and the pattern for that church is found in the book of Acts and I want to read several verses in Acts chapter 2.

"And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place, and suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting, and it appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire, and it set upon each of them, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues as the spirit gave them utterance."

We're going to be thinking tonight on this subject, how to keep your spiritual fire burning. And this is so important in this day and in this age. Never in my ministry have I had people giving more attention to spiritual things than this time in which we're living. It is seeming as if, it seems to me as if the world knows it doesn't have the answer and one more time the world is looking to the church and they're wondering do we really have the answer. And friends, we do. We're more than a religious snooty country club with a steeple hiding behind stained glass windows. We are the church of the living God.

Now the passage that I just read to you took place on a Jewish feast day called Pentecost. For fifteen hundred years the Jews had kept this feast of Pentecost, but there was never another just like this. It took place fifty days after Passover and what they would do is this—they would take wonderful grain and they would crush it and make flour out of it and then they would take that flour and mix it with oil and the priests would bake that flour mixed with oil into two loaves of bread.

Now, you know that oil represents the Holy Spirit and the wheat represents the church of the living God. There were two loaves there on the day of Pentecost because now all of those individual grains were becoming one loaf, but there's both Jew and Gentile becoming one new body. A hundred and twenty disciples on the day of Pentecost went up into an upper room as individual grains of wheat, but they came together at Pentecost and we have the birthday of the church and it was a wonderful illustration that now something new, something supernatural was happening. The Holy Spirit was coming in great power to abide in the church.

On that day also they sacrificed on the day of Pentecost and the old Jewish feast day seven lambs and two rams and one young bull were all sacrificed that day. That is, there were ten animals that were sacrificed. Ten is the complete number and I believe that pictures the complete, perfect blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Now God is teaching a lesson here and it's full of symbolism and so this mighty power that came on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit descended upon the infant church, it's symbolized several ways. First of all, it was symbolized by sound. Look if you will here again in verse 2: "And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as a rushing mighty wind." There've been two tornadoes in my life and I can attest to what everyone says, it does sound like a freight train. The sound of a rushing mighty wind.

One time in Florida Joyce and I were asleep in the middle of the night and I'm a sound sleeper. When I put my head upon the pillow it's a light sound, but I woke up and looked in the back yard and I've never seen anything like that, the grass was lying down flat and there was that sound, that roar, and we ran to get the children away from the windows, but by that time the sound had passed on by. We looked out in the backyard and two mighty oak trees were lying down flat, but not a shingle was lifted on our house, thank the Lord. And that tornado passed by and I've often thought of the sound of a mighty rushing wind.

And wind is an emblem of the Holy Spirit of God. As a matter of fact, Jesus taught us that, remember, in John 3:8. He says the wind blows where it will. You can tell from where it comes or whither it's going, but you can hear the sound thereof. And wind therefore is an emblem of the Holy Spirit of God because it comes from heaven, it moves at its own will. It is commanded by nobody except God Himself. It's mysterious. We don't know from whence it comes or where it goes, and it is invisible but very powerful. What a wonderful emblem of the Holy Spirit of God.

There was the symbolism of the sound and then the symbolism of the fire. Look again if you will in verse 3, "And there sat upon every head clove—and appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire and it sat upon each of them." They looked like human candles. Can you imagine a hundred and twenty people with a flame, just flickering over their heads, just like that, that, that fire upon each head.

And the fire also is an emblem of the Holy Spirit. Just like wind, it has its special significance. Fire spreads, fire consumes, fire warms, fire purges, fire illuminates and fire energizes. And so you have wind and fire. There is fire and wind to spread it and it sat upon each of them. It sat upon the apostles and it sat upon the lowliest believers because there was no no super saints. This was to be a universal thing. The wind and the fire.

And so first of all, this power was symbolized, but then this power was vocalized. Look if you will now in verse 4: "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues as the spirit gave them utterance." They are speaking now with strange languages, languages that they have never learned.

Well, I think it's important that we just continue to read this. "They spake with other tongues," and the word tongues means languages, it's a Greek word glossa, and so speaking in tongues is called glossa-lalia, "as the spirit gave them utterance."

Now this was not something they'd learned, it was something that the Holy Spirit of God did. "And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews," now underscore this because tongues are primarily assigned to Jews to Jews, devout men out of every nation under heaven. And when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together and they were con—confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language."

By the way, this was a known language, not an unknown language, they all heard them speak in their own language. When you go to the book of First Corinthians and it speaks of an unknown tongue, read it carefully, because the word unknown is italicized and it means that's not in the original. The translators put it in there to try to make it read more clearly, but there they obfuscated the meaning.

They heard them speak, everybody's hearing them speak in their own language, "and they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak not Galileans?" By the way, the Galileans were the hillbillies of that day, basically were thought of as backward and unlearned. "How we hear every man in our own tongue where we were born? Parathions and Meads and Elomites and the brothers of Mesopotamia and in Judea and Cappadocia, in Pompos and Asia and Pergia and Tampilia, and Egypt and all the parts of Libya, round about Cyrene and strangers of Rome, Jews or proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues," that is in our languages, "the wonderful works of God and they were all amazed and were in doubt saying one to another, What meaneth this? Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine," that is they're drunk. So the power that was symbolized by fire and by wind is now also vocalized and they're beginning to speak in languages they've never learned.

Now again I want to remind you this was primarily a sign to the Jews. Put in your margin First Corinthians 14:21, 22. Paul was explaining to the Corinthian church about tongues and he says, "In the law it is written with men of other tongues and with other lips will I speak unto this people," he's talking now about Israel, "to this people, and yet for all that they will not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not."

So tongues are a sign to unbelievers. Sometimes people think that speaking in tongues is a sign that you're filled with the Holy Spirit. No, speaking in tongues is not a sign to God's people about anything. Speaking in tongues is a sign to unbelievers, primarily this people—that is the Jews. Tongues are mentioned three times in the book of Acts and every time they're mentioned, Jews are present and unbelieving Jews are in the background.

Now the true mark of spirituality is not that you speak in a foreign language or speak in an unknown tongue. The true mark of spirituality as I said last week is that you control the one tongue that you have. That's serious. I mean I'm deadly serious about that, I'm not trying to be funny. If you are filled with the spirit, the fruit of the spirit is love. The Corinthian church was carnal and divided and childish and immature and they were making merchandise of the what they thought was the gift of tongues, but it was not of God. Now there is a biblical gift. The biblical gift of tongues is a language known by others but unknown by the speaker. It is a miracle gift primarily to convince unbelieving Jews.
This power was symbolized by wind and fire. This power was vocalized as they're speaking in strange languages that they've never learned. And then this power was actualized. Go back again if you will to chapter 2 and look in verse 4. And here is the key: "And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit." This is the abiding miracle of Pentecost.

Sometimes people say we need another Pentecost. Well be careful, huh. You think we need another Pentecost? We couldn't have another Pentecost without an indoor cyclone and tongues of fire sitting on everybody's head. It's not another Pentecost that we need. We don't need another Pentecost anymore than we need another Bethlehem or another Calvary. Bethlehem is God with us, Calvary is God for us, Pentecost is God in us. We need to enjoy Bethlehem, enjoy Calvary, enjoy Pentecost, but Pentecost was a special day, it was the birthday of the church. And the miracles that were given—the mighty rushing wind and the flames of fire—these things were illustrative of the mighty power, the filling of the spirit of God.

There are four distinct words of the Holy Spirit and I want you to pay attention to what they are. First of all, there is the baptism of the spirit. Jesus said, "Ye shall be baptized for the Holy Spirit not many days hence." That's before he ascended to heaven. The baptism of the Holy Spirit is what we're talking about.

When the Holy Spirit came on the day of Pentecost and these individual grains now have become one loaf they are baked together by love, they have become one, just as those of us in this congregation are not many, and they are one. Paul tells us about that—this is the baptism of the spirit. Put down in your margin First Corinthians 12:13, "For by one spirit are we all baptized into one body." That's the baptism of the Holy Spirit, when many become one, "for by one spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free, and have been made, and have been all made to drink into one spirit. For by one spirit are ye all baptized." Now, every so often somebody will ask you, Have you received the baptism of the Holy Ghost? And they might mean by that, Have you had some esoteric experience. If you are saved, you have received the baptism of the Holy Ghost. When you become a child of God, you are placed by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ and that is the baptism of the spirit. It doesn't happen to some and not to others, for this verse of scripture says, "For by one spirit are ye all," the Greek language literally says, "for by one spirit have ye all been," every one of you, "baptized into one body."

Every child of God has the baptism of the Holy Ghost. There is not one scripture, not one scripture that ever commands a New Testament Christian to be baptized with the Holy Spirit, not one. If I'm wrong, stand up and prove it. Not one. No we were commanded to be filled with the spirit, we are already baptized with the spirit the minute we receive Christ. "For by one spirit have ye all been baptized into one body." That is the work of the Holy Spirit of God that takes many of us and makes us one when we get saved and are placed into the mystical body of the Lord Jesus Christ. That's the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Then there is the indwelling of the spirit. He also says we've been made to drink into one spirit. He now comes into us. He lives in us and dwells in us. Jesus said in John 14, "When the comforter is come, He will abide with you forever." He dwells in me, he lives in me, he is the abiding possession of every child of God. Some people have the erroneous idea that you get saved and after you get saved, later on, subsequently, you may receive the Holy Spirit. Put it down big, put it down plain, put it down straight, if the Holy Spirit is not in you, you are not even saved. There's no such thing as getting saved and later receiving the Holy Spirit.

Acts chapter, excuse me, Romans 8:9, "But ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit. It so be that the spirit of God dwell in you." And then Paul says, "If any man has not the spirit of Christ, he's none of his." You don't belong to him. If you don't have the Holy Spirit of God, how do you call yourself a Christian, because Christ is not in you. How's Christ to come into you except by the Holy Spirit? Do you think Jesus in his body is literally going to come into you? I mean his physical body is in you? No!

The only way that Jesus can be in you is through the Holy Spirit. And if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his. If Jesus is not in you, you're not saved. The only way that Jesus can be in you is by the Holy Spirit. Do you understand that? So by one spirit we're all baptized into one body, that's the baptism of the spirit. When we're placed by the spirit into the body of Christ, but then, thank God, the Holy Spirit is into us, we've all been, all have been made to drink into one spirit.

So there's the baptism of the spirit, there is the indwelling of the spirit, and then, thank God, there is the sealing of the spirit. Now what happens there is this. That once you are put into the body of Christ, you are sealed into the body of Christ by the Holy Spirit of God. Put down Ephesians 1:13. Paul speaks of Jesus and he says, "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, in whom after ye believed ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise."

Over in the book of Esther we read that the king's seal no man can break. The king has put a seal upon you, and that seal is not to be broken. You were signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit of God. It means a finished transaction. In biblical days when there was a deal done, there would be a stamp called the seal, of melted wax, it was affixed to a document and it means It is done, it is finished, it is paid in full, and we have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of God.

There's the baptism of the spirit, there's the indwelling of the spirit, there is the sealing of the spirit, and there is fourthly the filling of the spirit. Now we're going to dwell more about the filling of the spirit.
Acts 2:4 says they were all filled with the Holy Spirit of God. Now that is the abiding miracle of, move aside the symbolism, move aside the embols, the embols, embols, emblems, move those aside and understand what the abiding miracle is—it's in verse 4, "And they were all filled with the spirit."

Now I've told you, there's no command in the Bible for you to be baptized in the spirit, but there's a definite command for you to be filled with the spirit. And that is in Ephesians 5:18. The Bible says, "Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess, but be filled with the spirit." I don't want to be too technical, but I want to tell you that is the imperative mood and if I were to tell you, Get up out of here and leave this place right now, it's imperative that you do it, do it. That's not a suggestion, that's imperative.

And the Bible says, "Be filled with the spirit." It's imperative. That means this is not just something nice, this is something necessary. This is not just simply a blessing to enjoy, it is a command to obey. And it is passive in voice. It doesn't say uh, get filled, it says be filled. That is, it's something that God does, it is supernatural. Be filled with the spirit. It is plural in number. It literally says be ye being filled, all of you. The apostle says the promises to you and your children and to as many as the Lord our God shall call.

Everybody is to be filled with the spirit, not just the pastor, not just the evangelist, not just the choir leader, we're all to be filled with the spirit, young and old, when you're saved, when we're filled with the spirit, when we are saved, he comes into us as resident, but when we're filled he becomes president. He comes not only to abide, but to preside in us. And so we are to be filled with the spirit.

Now, the filling of the spirit is conditional. The filling of the spirit comes when we meet God's conditions and the filling of the spirit comes to turn weaklings into witnesses. And Jesus said in Acts 1:8 that, "Ye shall receive power when that the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto me." Now, among the illustrations of what the Holy Spirit does, he's like wind and he's like fire. There's a fire and there's wind to spread it. Now I told you tonight that I want to talk to you about how to keep your spiritual fire burning and I want to remind you of what fire does. Because the Holy Spirit of God is to your life what fire is. And fire illuminates. I want you to write these things down now.

The Holy Spirit is the illuminating fire of God. Fire gives light. The light that's shining down on us is coming tonight from fire, whether it's the light of the sun, the light of a candle, or the incandescent light, whatever it is, fire is light. And the Holy Spirit of God is there to illumine you. It was the Holy Spirit of God that gave the scriptures and as a matter of fact you can read in Acts 1:16, you're right there in the neighborhood, just look at verse 16 and you'll see, "Men and brethren, the scripture must needs have been fulfilled which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake." Who was speaking when David wrote the Psalms? The Holy Ghost. This is illuminating fire.

And not only did the Holy Spirit give the scriptures, the Holy Spirit helps you to understand the scriptures. When I prepare a sermon, I soak it in prayer, I pray and say, God, give me understanding. But Jesus said in John 14:26, "But the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things." The Holy Spirit is the teacher, he teaches us. "And so bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have commanded you." And so the Holy Spirit is the illuminating fire of God.

And the Holy Spirit is the consuming fire of God. Not only does fire illumine, but fire consumes. Put this scripture down, Hebrews 12:29, "Our God is a consuming fire." And it is the Holy Spirit of God that burns away the dross of sin.

This week when I was studying I came across an interesting passage. It's in, Isaiah 4:4, don't turn to it, but listen to it. He's talking about the time when God is going to come in mighty power on the nation Israel, but here's what it says. "When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning." God is going to purge away sin from Israel with the spirit of burning. That is the Holy Spirit of God.

Now, when I was a younger preacher, I so desired to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God and I had an erroneous idea. I thought if I could be pure enough, if I could be holy enough, if I could be clean enough, then God the Holy Spirit would fill me. If I could only live victorious, then I might be filled with the Holy Spirit. I had it 180 degrees backward. I could never be clean and be pure until I was filled with the Holy Spirit of God.

You know sometimes we have the idea that being filled with the Holy Spirit is an attainment. It is not. It is receiving a gift from God, very much just like you were saved. You know, you know how the bankers are—if you can go to the banker and prove that you don't need any money, he just may loan you some.

Sometimes I had the idea, Dear God, if I can just prove to you that I am good, supernatural enough, pure enough, holy enough, good enough, then maybe you'll fill me with the Holy Spirit. No, dear friend, I need to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God because I don't have what it takes. Now that doesn't mean that I can cling to my sin and expect God to fill me, but it does mean that the only way that I will ever be victorious over sin is to be filled with the Holy Spirit of God.
The Holy Spirit of God is the illuminating fire of God. The Holy Spirit of God is the consuming fire of God. The Holy Spirit of God is the transforming fire of God. Another propensity here, of fire is that fire transforms and what fire does, it transforms whatever it is burning into its own likeness. It turns whatever it's burning into the fire itself and the fire just transforms. You put a poker even in the fire and let it stay in the fire and if the poker stays long enough in the fire, you look at it and the fire will be in the poker. When you are with the Lord Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit, you are being transformed from glory into glory and because the Holy Spirit of God is the transforming power of God, fire not only consumes, it transforms.

And then the Holy Spirit is the empowering fire of God. Fire gives power. Remember Acts 1:8, "And after that ye shall receive power and after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you." Don't you want power in your life? Do you know what's wrong with so many churches? No fire. And because there's no fire there is no power.

Can you imagine a factory, everything in this factory is perfect, I mean all of the machinery's in place, there are mighty wheels and great pistons and conveyor belts and chains and hoists and everything is there in the factory, but the factory is cold and dead and nothing is happening. Somebody says, Well maybe we need to put some stained glass windows in the factory, maybe we need to put a steeple on top of the factory, maybe we need to put a big sign out in front of the factory. Maybe we need some robed choirs in the factory, then somebody says, wait a minute, there's no fire in the boiler, that's what we need, is a fire in the boiler. There's where the power comes.

And so many churches today, they have everything except fire—fire is power. "They shall receive power, after the Holy Ghost is come upon you." Rationalism and ritualism and traditionalism and formalism will not do it. It's not form, it's not facts, it's not fashion, it's fire. The Holy Spirit is the empowering fire of God.

And then, folks, the Holy Spirit of God is the attracting fire of God. The Bible says here in the second chapter of the book of Acts, when these things began to happen, it was noised abroad. Something was so supernatural that people came and they wanted to see what was happening. One thing about a fire is you don't have to advertise it. A fire, it advertises itself.

I was preaching in Brooksville, FL, the First Baptist Church of Brooksville, FL, many years ago, I was a college student and it was a rainy night and we were supposed to be having a revival meeting, but it was just a handful of people there because it was raining. And I wept and preached and poured my heart out, but not very much happened. Somebody kinda put their arm around my shoulder and said Well, Adrian don't worry, it's a, it's a rainy night and you can't expect folks to come on a rainy night.

As I was walking outside that church, I heard a clanging and a siren and a fire truck went by and another fire truck went by and then the fire chief with his sirens screaming went by, and I looked down about a half a mile from the church and I saw a red glow on the horizon. I got in my car and I went down there and myself and a number of other foolish people were standing out in the rain watching a house burn. And I thought to myself, There's a much bigger crowd here standing in the rain watching this house burn than there was inside this church where I was preaching, and I've never forgotten it.

You don't have to advertise a fire.

Folks, if Bellevue ever really gets on fire from God, really on fire with the Holy Spirit of God, we're going to see people come here in ways that propaganda, personality, and advertisement we won't need that. We're just going to have the supernatural fire of God. People are going to come. Do you know that John Wesley used to say this, he said, "If I'd just set myself on fire, people come to watch me burn." and I, fire has power.

Too many of us are reading the Bible like it's a math book rather than a love story.

By the way, if dead wood starts fires I know a lot of churches that are ready to burn. These early Christians, they had, they had a fire that water couldn't drown and swords couldn't kill and jails could not hold. All of this is the fire of God and that's the reason on the day of Pentecost God gave these great emblems of wind and of fire.

Now I'm not talking about wildfire and I'm not talking about painted fire. I'm talking about real fire. Sometimes when you talk about getting on fire, people are afraid we're going to become fanatics. In an average church, there's not much danger of that. It'd be like putting a culvert and a policeman around a graveyard to keep a wild demonstration from breaking out from those who sleep there. And I also believe this. I believe the reason that the cults are getting many of the members of Bible-believing churches is because there's an empty place in people's heart. They want something that is real. They want a passion, they want a fire.

Now I've just mentioned all of the things that fire does and you need to keep the fire burning in your heart, because this church is not going to stay on fire until the members, pastor and people and staff and deacons, until we ourselves are on fire. So I want to give you four things. By the way, that's all introduction, that's all just introduction, seriously, seriously. I'm not going to keep you that long, but all that's just introduction. Now we're getting to the sermon. All right now, here's the sermon. I want to give you four things—three of them negative and one of them positive—if you would keep the fire burning. And they all deal with the Holy Spirit who is the spirit of fire and the spirit of burning.

Number one, principle number one. Don't lie to the Holy Spirit. Don't lie to the Holy Spirit. If you lie to the Holy Spirit, you're playing with fire and you're going to get burned. In Acts chapter 5, let me give you an example of somebody who lied to the Holy Spirit.

In Acts chapter 5 I read this: "But a certain man named Ananias and Sapphira his wife sold a possession and kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it." That is, she was in on the deal. "And brought a certain part and laid it at the apostle's feet."

They were having a love offering, see, and so she brought it and laid it at the apostle's feet. "Then Peter said, Ananias, why has Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost?" Just underscore that, to lie to the Holy Ghost. "And to keep back part of the price of the land. While it remained, was it not thine own, and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power?" That is, you didn't have to give it, nobody twisted your arm. "Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. And Ananias, hearing these words, fell down and gave up the ghost." That means he died, the ghost was the spirit that was in him. "And great fear came upon all them that heard these things, and the young men arose, wound him up and carried him out and they buried him." They carried this man out of the church service.

Now what had happened was this. There was a great wave of revival that was sweeping the early church and the number of disciples, as we preached last Sunday night, was being multiplied. First there was addition and then there was multiplication, and the devil wanted to cause division and subtraction. The devil wanted to get into the arithmetic also, and so what he did he he began to work through the people in the church, particularly Ananias and Sapphira. He'd already tried to stop the church by persecution and he found out that only made it to grow, so Satan said, If I can't stop them, I'll join them and I'll work from the inside, and so he got into the hearts of Ananias and Sapphira, as we're going to see.

Now what caused Ananias and Sapphira to lie to the Holy Ghost? The root of their sin was pride. Now listen to me. It's pride that causes you to lie to the Holy Ghost. The root of their sin was pride. There was a man named Barnabas who gave an exceptional love offering gift and people were grateful for it. But Barnabas didn't do it to show off, but Barnabas was not ashamed to let it be known what he'd done.

The Bible says we're to let our lights so shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify our father which is in heaven. And what Barnabas did was a spontaneous show of love. Ananias and Sapphira wanted to get in and bask in the glow of that, so they sold a piece of real estate, told everybody they were going to give everything they received to the Lord. Now they didn't have to do it. Peter said, It was in your power, you didn't have to give anything, you could've given part, but don't lie and say that you've done something that you've not done.

The reason that they did this simply was pride. They wanted to be praised, they wanted to be petted, and nothing puts a man more in jeopardy in spiritual things than pride. There's nothing that'll put out your spiritual fire quicker than pride, because the Bible says that God resists the proud and he gives uh, he gives grace to the humble. The Holy Spirit of God has poured out the spirit of grace upon people who are humble.

Now the root of their sin was pride and the fruit of their sin was pretense. They pretended more than they had. They wanted credit. Again, I wanted to say that it's not that they refused to give—that was in their power, Peter said. But they were acting as hypocrites.

Read the Bible and you're gonna find out that Jesus Christ reserved his sternest words for hypocrites. Frankly I had, I had to search my heart before I could preach this message. I mean on my knees. I had to ask myself, Adrian, do you pretend to be more holy than you are? Are you telling people things that you don't believe, or even worse, things that you do believe and don't practice? You see, that'll put out the fire.

There's pride that leads to pretense and I believe that many of our churches are filled with that. I've seen congregations stand and sing I surrender all, all to Jesus I surrender, all to him I freely give, and frankly, that's a lie. They have not surrendered all, they have not given all freely to the Lord Jesus Christ. We sing, Take my silver and my gold, not a mite would I withhold. Well how many congregations do you believe really mean that? Take my silver and my gold, not a mite would I withhold, they withhold it with all our might.

I've seen congregations sing on Sunday mornings, Faith of our fathers, holy faith, we will be true to thee till death. You ever sing that? And don't even come back Sunday night. I mean, they'll stay home to watch the Sunday night movies, but they will sing on Sunday morning, faith of our fathers, holy faith, we will be true to thee till death. That's hypocrisy. It's lying to the Holy Spirit.

Now, who caused that? Well Peter said to Ananias and Sapphira, Why hast Satan put in your heart to lie to the Holy Ghost? It's a strategy of Satan to sabotage the spirit of revival. Again, I say, he tried intimidation and persecution. That didn't work. The cause of Christ has been hurt far more by hypocrites within the church than by enemies with—outside the church.

Now listen to me. I'm talking about how to keep your spiritual fire burning. If you lie to the Holy Ghost, you're playing with fire. It is serious to tell a lie to anybody. More serious to tell a lie to a judge, thrice serious and much more than that to lie to the Holy Spirit of God, to lie to God. It's not only serious, but folks, it's foolish. Let me tell you why it's foolish. Because the Holy Spirit was there when the deal was made, the Holy Spirit was on the inside, the Holy Spirit knew everything. You can't fool God. Abraham Lincoln said you can fool some of the people all the time, all of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all of the people all of the time. You can't fool God any of the time. I mean, why do you try to lie to God?

It's serious, it's foolish, and, and, well you say, was God capricious when God struck Ananias dead and later Sapphira dead? No, God had warned them. As a matter of fact, he said, "Why hast Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost?" That means that the Holy Spirit of God had been speaking to them, because he is the illuminating fire of God. Their error was an intentional area—error—it was willful and it was inexcusable and God made them a generation excuse me, God made them an example to the coming generations. Have you ever wondered why God doesn't strike hypocrites dead today in the churches? Why did he strike Ananias and Sapphira dead? Why doesn't he strike the hypocrites dead in our churches today? Because God took certain individuals and he made them an example.

Let me give you some examples of examples. Jude chapter 7, "Even as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities round about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication and going after strange flesh, are set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire." How does God feel about sodomy? How does God feel about sexual perversion? Go see Sodom and Gomorrah. He left Sodom with its smoking ruins as an example.

Then in First Corinthians 10:10, 11. How does God feel about murmuring? "Neither murmur ye as some of them also murmured and were destroyed of the destroyer. Now all these things happened unto them for examples and they are written for our admonition, for whom the ends of the world are come." When God killed those people in the wilderness with poisonous serpents, why doesn't he kill people who murmur today with poisonous serpents? God has given an example. Why did God strike Ananias and Sapphira dead? Why doesn't he strike every hypocrite dead? God has given the example. We need to learn, we need to be on guard against hypocrisy.

Ask yourself this question: Is there any hypocrisy in me? Am I pretending a devotion to Jesus Christ that I don't really have? Are you going in and out among your brethren, serving as a deacon, serving o

n the staff, singing in the choir? I mean, think about what Debbie sang tonight. Oh, the glory of your presence. Would she not have been filled with folly and foolishness if she were not enraptured with the glory of his presence? I mean, you think about it. Would I stand and sing a song, Oh, the glory of your presence, and sing that to entertain or to have somebody say, What a beautiful voice? I don't believe this about this young lady. I believe she meant every word that she sang, but would it not be foolish to do that? Choirs are so foolish. Folks, listen in the choir, listen to your pastor. You are not there to lead the church in worship. You're there to lead the church by worship, by worship. When you worship in front of us, then we worship because you are worshiping and setting the example in worship. Don't sing what you don't know, I mean what you don't mean, that's hypocrisy, that's lying to the Holy Ghost! And you're playing with fire.

Number one, don't lie to the Holy Ghost. Number two, don't grieve the Holy Spirit. Now if you grieve the Holy Spirit, you're going to dampen the fire. Well what grieves the Holy Spirit? Unconfessed, unrepented of sin in your life.

Turn this time to Ephesians 4 and look if you will in verse 25: "Wherefore, putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and sin not. Let not the sun go down upon your wrath, neither give place to the devil." That is, don't give a beachhead or campground to the devil.

"Let not him that stole steal no more, but rather let him labor, working with his hands the things that is good that he may have to give to him that needeth. Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying that it may administer grace to the hearers."

Now watch verse 30 "And grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed until the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and clamor and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice, and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you." He says here don't grieve the Holy Spirit and then he he prefaces that and follows that with a litany of sins—sins of the flesh, sins of the spirit, everything from malice to an unforgiving spirit. And he says this grieves the Holy Spirit of God.

Now, when you grieve the Holy Spirit of God, you dampen the fire of God. You see, the spirit of God is burning love. He is passionate love. The word grieve is a love word. Did you know that you can only grieve somebody who loves you? You can only be grieved by somebody that you love. You think about it and see if I'm not true. When the neighbor's kids do wrong, that vexes you. When your kids do wrong, that grieves you. There's a difference. You see, only is a person grieved if they love the person who's doing wrong. I have been grieved by people when they do wrong, so grieved.

Somebody told me a while back about a preacher who'd fallen into immorality. I'm not ashamed to tell you, when I heard it, I fell to my knees and I wept like a baby. I could not stop crying. When I heard about what this man had done because I loved him, I admired him, and I am grieved. Now the Holy Spirit of God loves us so much that when we have filthy sin in our hearts and in our lives, unconfessed, unrepented of sin, that grieves the spirit of God and it dampens the fire.

Look up here and I'm gonna tell you something. As I stand before you tonight, I don't have any unconfessed, unrepented of sin in my life that I know of. I would be a fool, a fool to try to live the Christian life while harboring sin in my heart and in my life. You say, Well who do you think you are, some—no! That's normal Christianity. That's not abnormal. Don't get the idea that we're all supposed to have our pet little sins. Yes, we fail, yes we stumble. That's the reason why he says, Be ye angry and sin not and don't let the sun go down upon your wrath. Get it right! Don't harbor that sin, don't go back to bed with that sin, don't wake up with it.

I'm so grateful that I can wake up in the morning and not carry the baggage of yesterday's sin into the, into this new day. How wonderful to start a day clean and pure and to lift your hands and to praise the Lord and not grieve the precious, blessed, Holy Spirit of God who loves us so much that his heart is broken with unconfessed sin in our lives.
Now, if you want to keep the fire burning, listen, if you want to keep the fire burning, don't lie to the Holy Ghost. Don't pretend something that you're not. If you want to keep the fire burning, don't grieve the Holy Spirit of God, don't lie to the Holy Spirit. Number three, don't quench the spirit, don't quench the spirit.

First Thessalonians 5:19 says, "Quench not the spirit." Now if you quench the spirit, you'll just put the fire out. We need that fire, that illuminating fire, that energizing fire. We need that purging, cleansing fire. The Holy Spirit is sent by God the Father to guide us, to lead us. He gives us fire to light our path, and we need to be very sensitive to the spirit of God because he is so easily quenched.

There've been times in my life I'm afraid that I've quenched the spirit of God. The spirit of God has spoken to me and I've not obeyed the spirit of God. I can remember a time with deep remorse the first little church I ever pastored. I had told the Lord I will talk to every person in this town that I can about you. I will go to at least every house and I had worked and worked and worked and worked and there was one house kind of down the road a long distance and the Holy Spirit seemed to be moving my heart saying, Go to that house. And I said, Well I've done enough and I won't go.

I was driving later down the street. I saw a woman coming, driving in her automobile, both hands in the air, her hands were not even on the steering wheel, she was screaming at the top of her voice. I pulled over and asked her what was wrong. She pointed to the orange grove there in front of that very house and said, He's dead, he's dead. I went into that orange grove and there I saw that man with a high-powered rifle that he'd put up to his head and reached up and pulled the trigger and there he was—his body was already blue and he was there, rigor mortis had come where he'd gone out in that, in that field and shot himself. I can see that scene in my mind right now and I wondered, Did I quench the spirit? That was the one house I did not go to. And that has stayed with me all of these days.

Don't lie to the Holy Ghost. Don't quench the Holy Ghost. Don't grieve the Holy Ghost. When God's spirit speaks to you, be quick, my soul, to answer him. Be jubilant, my feet. Is God speaking to you about something? Somebody you need to get right with, some money you need to give, some restoration you need to make, some witness that you need to bear? Then do it, do it, because you can put out that flame, you can quench the spirit.

Now listen. Don't lie to the Holy Spirit, don't grieve the Holy Spirit, don't quench the spirit, but let's come right back to our verse again in Acts 2:4, "Be filled with the spirit." They were all filled with the spirit. Now remember again Ephesians 5:18, "Be not drunk with wine wherein is excess, but be filled with the spirit."

Now don't get the idea that you are a vessel and the Holy Spirit is some sort of liquid power that he pours into you like you would fill a jug. No, no, no, no. You are a temple and to be filled with the Holy Spirit means that he has the key to every room. That, that uh, First Corinthians 6:19, "What, know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which you have of God?" Have you given him the key to every room, to every closet?

How are you filled with the spirit of God? Just be completely committed, where the spirit is Lord there's liberty. Just simply say, "Here I am, Lord, take my life, every ounce, every inch, every nerve, every fiber, every possession. It is yours, I give you the key to every room, every closet, complete commitment and continual control."

When this verse of scripture, the one thing I left out when I told you that it was the imperative mode and passive voice and plural in number it is, it is in the, it is in the present tense—it means it is continual action. Actually means being filled is what it says. Be being filled. Uh, Why does he say don't be drunk with wine but be filled with the spirit? Why didn't he say don't steal but be filled with the spirit? Why didn't he say don't commit adultery but be filled with the spirit?
How does a person get drunk with wine? He's speaking here not only in contrast but in comparison. How does a person get drunk with wine? He drinks. How does he stay drunk? He has to keep drinking. Be being filled. He's talking here in comparison. Be, just constantly be being filled with the Holy Spirit of God. It is, it is the present tense, continual action, as we are letting God's Holy Spirit fill us.

So how are you filled with the spirit? Well, there's complete commitment, there's continual control as we are drinking and letting him have his life I us, and then there is constant claiming. You're saying, Lord, I claim your power right now. That's what I did on my knees before I came out here to preach this message. I know the message has been longer tonight than normal, but listen to me. On the day of Pentecost the Holy Spirit came down. On the day of Pentecost the disciples went out. On the day of Pentecost the lost came in and God was glorified by that New Testament church.

Now folks, we've been out here ten years and God has blessed us. I want the fire to burn brighter and greater than it has ever burned, are you with me, are you with me? That's going to, that's going to start in you, teens up here in the choir, high schoolers, it's going to start in you. I want you when you go to school tomorrow to let the fire burn. Choir, I meant what I said. You don't lead the church in worship, you lead the church by worship as you worship God. I want all of our deacons to understand that the requirement for being a deacon is first of all, be spirit filled. I want every staff member not to lie to the Holy Ghost. I want every staff member not to grieve the Holy Ghost. I want every staff member not to quench the Holy Ghost, but to be filled with the spirit. And the promise is unto you and to your children and to as many as the Lord our God shall call.

Folks, let's keep the fire burning. Thank God there's the fire and there's the wind to spread it. My heart almost jumps out of my chest when I stand here on a Sunday morning and see this building filled twice and I think, My God, what would happen if everybody who comes on Sunday morning were a spirit-filled believer and would let Holy Ghost fire burn in them? Would you say, by God's grace, I will be at least one, I will by the grace of God.

Let's bow our heads in prayer. Lord God, I pray that you will help us, that we will learn to let you have your way. Come, Holy Spirit, be continually cleansing and filling me and fill us individually and corporately. And oh, father, help us not to play games, not to pretend, not to lie to the Holy Spirit, not to grieve the Holy Spirit and not to quench the Holy Spirit, but to be filled. Thank you, Lord, Amen.


Acts 2:1-11 The Power Of Pentecost
By Herbert Vander Lugt
You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me. —Acts 1:8
God’s power was dramatically displayed when the Holy Spirit came upon a small band of Christ’s followers on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:2-4). Those present heard a roaring sound like a strong driving wind. Flames like fiery tongues hovered above their heads, and they proclaimed God’s wonderful works in languages they had never learned.

Many of us wish we could have a similar experience today. But we tend to overlook the fact that the power of Pentecost was given so that we could be witnesses for Christ (1:8).

Since that great day, the Holy Spirit has been transforming lives through the witness of believers. The testimony of those first-century Christians led thousands to faith in Jesus Christ.

Our problem is that we like the spectacular. But we don’t need to see the phenomena depicted in Acts 2. God uses our witness to open the eyes of others to the truth of the gospel. The same Holy Spirit who was revealed in the first century resides in us today. We are now living witnesses of the power displayed on the Day of Pentecost.

Praise God for His Pentecostal power! But don’t neglect the reason it was given. Instead, show the Lord your gratitude by using that power to share the gospel.

The power of our witness comes from the power of the Spirit.

Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved

Acts 2:1-2, 4
When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind. . . . And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-2, 4). 


In his diary Jim Elliot wrote, "Am I ignitible? . . . Saturate me with the oil of the Spirit that I may be a flame."

The disciples went through emotional burnout. The trial, the crucifixion, and the burial nearly snuffed out their flame. The res­urrection and forty days with Jesus served as a bellows, but the fire still flickered. Then the Holy Spirit came like a mighty wind, and they became human infernos.

The Holy Spirit participated in creation, empowered Old Testa­ment people, revealed God's Word to the prophets, and played an important role in Jesus' birth; but He never came for a permanent stay until Pentecost. Since then He has made His home in every believer and makes God's firepower available to us all.

The greatest evidence of His work may seem to many the most mundane: He grows spiritual fruit. That does not seem as exciting as starting spiritual fires. But His fruit is characteristic of Christ's life, and so He works at reproducing the best life ever lived in each believer. Like the oil of the olive used in lamps, the juice of this fruit lights the Christian life.

Unlike Jim Elliot, most of us would prefer to hear the Holy Spirit yell, "Lights out!" so we could get some rest. Instead, as a battle commander, He cries, "Fire!"

Acts 2:1-8 The New Harvest
By Mart De Haan
They are the firstfruits to the Lord. —Leviticus 23:17
I was visiting a friend in a Midwest farming community during harvest season. Huge combines churned through his fields, depositing soybeans into waiting wagons. My friend leaped onto one of the wagons to check out his “firstfruits.” What he saw was encouraging. Despite the worst corn crop in 40 years, the soybeans gave him reason to thank God for a good harvest.

Pentecost, which we remember today, has its roots in an agricultural setting. Fifty days after Passover, Jewish farmers celebrated the Feast of Weeks (Lev. 23:15-22), in which they recognized the hand of God who gave the crops.

Centuries later, the Lord chose the Day of Pentecost to celebrate a new harvest. Fifty days from Passover, the Holy Spirit came on a small group of believers and moved through Jerusalem, bringing in a different kind of crop. These firstfruits were men, women, and children added to the church (Acts 2:38-46).

Pentecost’s historical farming connection reminds us that a world of lost souls is ready for harvest (John 4:35). As believers in Christ, we are God’s fruit, but we are commanded to be His farmers as well.

Are we helping to bring in the new harvest? 

There’s surely somewhere a lowly place
  In earth’s harvest fields so wide,
  Where I may labor through life’s short day
  For Jesus, the crucified. —Gabriel

Without the Holy Spirit there would be no harvest.

Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved

Acts 2:1-21 The Best Consoler
By David C. McCasland
John 14:16-21,24-27
I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever. —John 14:16
When two uniformed men came to my door on Memorial Day afternoon, I thought they were collecting for charity. Instead, they told me that my sister and her husband had been killed in an accident earlier that day.

Just over a year after that shattering event, our church choir sang “Veni, Sancte Spiritus” (“Come, Holy Spirit”) on Pentecost Sunday (Whitsunday). It brought a wave of peace over my still-aching soul. One verse says: “Thou best of Consolers, sweet guest of the soul, sweet refreshment. In labor, Thou art rest; in heat, the tempering; in grief, the consolation.”

On Pentecost Sunday, many churches celebrate the Holy Spirit’s coming in power on the disciples (Acts 2:1-21). But the Spirit came also as the Comforter promised by Jesus: “I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever” (John 14:16). The Spirit lives within each Christian, bringing the peace of Christ along with encouragement and alleviation of grief.

Pentecost and Memorial Day seldom fall next to each other as they do in 2004. But the “sweet guest of the soul” is always with us on any day we remember our loved ones who have died. In grief, the Spirit is our consolation, the light of our hearts, the giver of everlasting joy.

O spread the tidings 'round wherever man is found,
  Wherever human hearts and human woes abound;
  Let every Christian tongue proclaim the joyful sound:
  The Comforter has come! —Bottome

In every desert of trial, the Holy Spirit is our oasis of comfort.

Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved

Acts 2:1-4 Shakespeare’s Translation?
By Dennis Fisher
 2 Peter 1:16-2:3
No prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation. —2 Peter 1:20
Some have speculated that William Shakespeare helped translate the King James Bible. They say that he inserted a cryptogram (a message written in code) while he translated Psalm 46. In this psalm, the 46th word from the beginning is shake and the 46th word from the end is spear. Furthermore, in 1610, while the King James Bible was being translated, Shakespeare would have been 46 years old. Despite these coincidences, no serious evidence supports this theory.

Some people also claim to have found hidden meanings when interpreting the Bible. Certain cults will cite a verse out of context, only to lead someone into heretical doctrine. Some quote John 14:16, for example, and say that the “Helper” refers to their “new revelation.” When compared with other Scripture, however, the Helper whom Jesus sent to us is obviously the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-14; Acts 2:1-4).

The apostle Peter wrote, “No prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20). To interpret a biblical passage accurately, we must always consider the context and compare it with other Scripture. This respects the clear meaning of the Bible without trying to find hidden meaning in it.

God’s Word does not have secret codes
  That need a special key;
  It’s understandable and clear,
  With truth for all to see.  —Sper

The best interpreter of Scripture is Scripture itself.

Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved

Acts 2:1-8 Our Comforter
By Dennis J. De Haan
I will pray the Father, and He will give you another [Comforter], that He may abide with you forever. —John 14:16
A seminary student was writing a term paper about confession of sin. At one point he intended to type, “When we confess our sins, He takes away our guilt.” But when he came to the word guilt, he hit the letter q by mistake. This made his sentence read, “When we confess our sins, He takes away our quilt.” He turned in the paper without noticing his error.

When the paper was returned, the student grinned as he read the marginal note from the professor: “Never fear, little one, you’ll never freeze, because God gave us a Comforter.”

Jesus said the Comforter (or Helper) would come and abide with us forever (Jn. 14:16). Since the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) the Holy Spirit has been carrying on His ministry in the lives of believers.

Here are some of His comforting activities: He guides us into truth and brings glory to Christ (Jn. 16:13-15). He assures us that we are God’s children (Rom. 8:16). He helps us pray (Rom. 8:26-27). He gives us hope (Rom. 15:13). He teaches us spiritual truths (1 Cor. 2:13). He equips us to serve other believers (1 Cor. 12:4-7). He makes us Christlike (2 Cor. 3:18). He strengthens us (Eph. 3:16).

We can face this day with confidence because of the Comforter’s ministry in our lives.

O spread the tidings 'round wherever man is found,
Wherever human hearts and human woes abound;
Let every Christian tongue proclaim the joyful sound:
The Comforter has come!  —Bottome

The Christian's heart is the Holy Spirit's home.

Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved

Acts 2:1-11 The Power Of Pentecost
By Herbert Vander Lugt
You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me. —Acts 1:8
God’s power was dramatically displayed when the Holy Spirit came upon a small band of Christ’s followers on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:2-4). Those present heard a roaring sound like a strong driving wind. Flames like fiery tongues hovered above their heads, and they proclaimed God’s wonderful works in languages they had never learned.

Many of us wish we could have a similar experience today. But we tend to overlook the fact that the power of Pentecost was given so that we could be witnesses for Christ (1:8).

Since that great day, the Holy Spirit has been transforming lives through the witness of believers. The testimony of those first-century Christians led thousands to faith in Jesus Christ.

Our problem is that we like the spectacular. But we don’t need to see the phenomena depicted in Acts 2. God uses our witness to open the eyes of others to the truth of the gospel. The same Holy Spirit who was revealed in the first century resides in us today. We are now living witnesses of the power displayed on the Day of Pentecost.

Praise God for His Pentecostal power! But don’t neglect the reason it was given. Instead, show the Lord your gratitude by using that power to share the gospel.

The power of our witness comes from the power of the Spirit.

Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved

Acts 2:1-11 Mysterious Invisibility
By Bill Crowder
Suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. —Acts 2:2
Across the United States and around the world, we often experience the dramatic effect of something no one can see. In 2011, for instance, several US cities were devastated by tornadoes that blew apart neighborhoods and business districts. And during each hurricane season, we are shocked as winds of more than 100 miles an hour threaten to destroy what we have built.

All of this is the result of an unseen force. Sure, we see the wind’s effects (flags flapping, debris flying), but we cannot see the wind itself. It works in mysterious invisibility.

In a sense, this is also true of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 2, when believers experienced the filling of the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, “suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting” (Acts 2:2). That wind was a tangible demonstration to those early Christians that the unseen Spirit was at work in their lives. And He still works in our lives today! If you are a follower of Christ, be encouraged. The Holy Spirit bears fruit in your life (Gal. 5:22-23), forms believers into one body (1 Cor. 12:13), and assures you of God’s presence (1 John 3:24). The Holy Spirit is a powerful Person in our lives—even though we can’t see Him.

Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready, my God, Thy will to see;
Open my heart—illumine me,
Spirit divine. —Scott

The Holy Spirit works powerfully, though invisibly.

Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved

Acts 2:1-21 Our Helper
By David C. Egner
The Father . . . will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever. —John 14:16
When I taught in a Christian college, I directed travel-study tours of Europe. Before I left for the first tour, I was somewhat apprehensive, but I knew that a Christian brother, Sotos Boukis, would be assisting us during the 7 days our group would be in Greece. I was relieved to discover when we arrived at our hotel that he was there waiting for us. His knowledge, guidance, and personal assistance were invaluable. It gave me great peace of mind to have him with me.

Jesus instructed, encouraged, and knew His disciples intimately. When He told them He was leaving, He promised to send “another Helper” (Jn. 14:16). He was telling them they would have a person like Himself to assist them. So on the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came to indwell all believers and gave them the same individual attention, though unseen, that Jesus had given His disciples.

The Holy Spirit is not some mystical force but a personal Being who lives within every follower of Jesus Christ. He is our teacher (Jn. 14:26; 16:13) and our power for witness (Acts 1:8).

Let’s thank the Lord Jesus that He has given us our personal Helper.

Holy Spirit, all divine,
  Dwell within this heart of mine;
  Cast down every idol-throne,
  Reign supreme and reign alone. —Reed

We're never without a helper because we have the Spirit within.

Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved

Acts 2:1-13.

W. W. Moseley had a burden for China. So the young British minister set out to translate the Bible into Chinese. Language experts told him it couldn’t be done, but Moseley refused to give up. One day in the British Museum library, he came across a Chinese manuscript containing portions of the New Testament! Moseley’s discovery drew fellow Britisher Robert Morrison, soon to be the first Protestant missionary to China. Morrison copied the manuscript, took it with him to China, and used it to translate the book of Acts, and then other portions of Scripture, into Chinese.

No language barrier can keep the Creator of language from making Himself known! On the Day of Pentecost, God would give a powerful witness to the coming of the promised Holy Spirit. The marvel of Pentecost is the supernatural coming and miraculous enabling of the Holy Spirit. The first witness to Pentecost was not words, but wind and fire. In the original language, the words for “wind” and “spirit” are closely related. The blowing wind speaks of the Holy Spirit’s power; fire signifies the presence of God.

As for the gift of tongues (v. 4), these were languages known to the hearers but not previously known to the speakers. That simple fact is often overlooked or ignored in the confusion that surrounds much modern-day teaching on the ministry and gifts of the Holy Spirit.

This is not to deny the Spirit’s power or sovereignty. Could He reproduce the miracle of Pentecost? Of course—He is God! But Pentecost was certainly a unique event: the birthday of the church. As such, it need not be repeated. While we are right to seek the Spirit’s power and filling today, the purpose of Pentecost has been fulfilled.

Acts 2 is an example of a principle you’ll want to keep in mind this month. Acts is a transitional book, bridging the old and new covenants, showing how the focus of God’s program moved from Israel to the church.
The curiosity and confusion of the crowd (vv. 7-13) reminds us of people’s confusion about spiritual things today. Spirituality is a popular topic, but there are as many varieties of “religions” as there are cable TV channels! Are there people in your world who are searching for spiritual reality? They often reveal their need in what they say around the office or in casual conversation over the back fence.

Acts 2:1-13
I am the LORD, the God of all mankind. Is anything too hard for me? - Jeremiah 32:27

The word unique is badly overused, but it’s the right word to describe the events that unfolded on the day of Pentecost. Since unique means “one of a kind,” it applies only to persons, things, or events that have no equal. The perfect example is Jesus Christ in the flesh, God’s “one and only Son” (Jn. 3:16). 
Pentecost was also unique as the birthday of the church. The church’s “birthday gift” was the coming of the Holy Spirit in a dramatic display of power to live inside believers, in fulfillment of Jesus’ promise (Jn. 14:15-17). Also in fulfillment of this promise, the Holy Spirit comes to indwell a person at the moment of salvation (1 Cor. 12:13). Paul’s statement also shows that the Spirit’s baptism unites Christians together in the body of Christ. 

The miraculous events of Pentecost capture all the attention--and it was a miraculous day. God provided a witness to the new work He was doing. 

The first witness to Pentecost was not in words, but in wind and fire. The words for wind and spirit are closely related in the Greek language. The blowing wind speaks of the Holy Spirit’s coming in power; fire in the Bible often signifies the presence of God. 

It was also miraculous that the believers could praise God in languages they had not learned. The fact that the gift of tongues in Acts 2 was known human languages is confirmed by the word “language” (vv. 6, 8). 

We are not denying God’s power or sovereignty when we say Pentecost is unique. Could God reproduce the miracle of Pentecost? Of course; He’s God! But the purpose of Pentecost has been fulfilled. Our calling today is to seek the Spirit’s power and filling (Eph. 5:18). 

Acts 2 is an example of a principle we need to keep in mind this month. Acts is a transitional book, bridging the old and new covenants, showing how the focus of God’s program moved from Israel to the church. 

Many of the events we will read about in Acts are unique to that transitional period of time. Grasping this principle will help avoid a lot of confusion as we go along.

The curiosity and confusion of the crowd at Pentecost reminds us of people’s confusion about spiritual things today. Spirituality is popular. But the world offers a confusing mix of ideas, and interest in spirituality doesn’t necessarily mean people are turning to Christ and the truth of Scripture for answers. Are there people in your world who are searching for spiritual reality? Ask God to help you be a good listener, and be ready to offer a word for Him.

Acts 2:1-13 John 3:5-8
The wind blows wherever it pleases . . . So it is with everyone born of the Spirit. - John 3:8

Nineteenth-century Methodist leader Samuel Chadwick once commented about the Holy Spirit that “the Spirit is more than the minister of consolation. He is Christ without the limitations of the flesh and the material world.” What did Chadwick mean? 
Unlike our incarnate Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit is not limited by a body to one place and time. Free as the wind, He comes and goes as He wills. This helps explain why Jesus said to His disciples that it is better if He goes and the Holy Spirit comes (John 16:7). 

No phenomenon better captures the freedom of the Holy Spirit than the rushing wind of Pentecost. The Spirit came upon the assembled believers with the sound of a mighty wind. As they were praying, He suddenly blew in. Jesus says that people born of the Spirit are the same way (John 3:8). Spirit-people, like the Holy Spirit, are not programmatic or predictable. Rather than following rules, they follow a still small voice, the Spirit. 

Such a man was Paul, whose missionary travels unfolded not as a pre-set plan but under the guidance of the Spirit. (He had to explain this to the Corinthians who, on one occasion, understood his sensitivity to the Spirit’s leading as a breach of promise. See 2 Cor. 1:17.) The actions of those walking in the Spirit can seem as mysterious as the motion of the wind, especially to those who are not in God’s kingdom. 

The Spirit is also like wind, says Bible commentator John Gill, because His workings are secret and invisible. In the depths of the heart the Spirit speaks and breathes. 

In Greek, the word for wind is the same as the word for breath. God, in the indwelling of His Spirit in us, is as close to us as the very breath we draw. God breathed into Adam and he became a living soul; Jesus breathed on His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (Gen. 2; John 20:22). 

This month heralds both Christmas and winter winds. But while the winter wind is blowing, so is the wind of the Spirit. 

Acts 2:1-13
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. - Acts 2:4

These days, English is the language of the entire world. In business, education, diplomacy, entertainment, and the media, it reigns supreme. One might find a Singaporean corporation negotiating with a Vietnamese supplier in English. Or a Brazilian businessman on a plane, reading a newspaper and watching a movie in English. Or German tourists in China, ordering from restaurant menus translated into English. Literally billions of people around the globe speak, or are learning to speak, English.

The ability to use language is empowering, as the events of Pentecost attest. We know this day as the “birthday of the church,” and the doctrine of the church is our topic this month. Jesus had told His disciples to wait for the gift of the Holy Spirit, who would inaugurate an age of witness (1:8). They obeyed, and fifty days after the Passover Sabbath they were gathered together, probably still trying to make sense of all that had happened. Suddenly the Spirit came upon them, manifested as a strong wind (cf. John 3:5-8) and as “tongues of fire.” His power was also shown by their immediate ability to “speak in other tongues,” that is, foreign languages (vv. 2-4).

The miracle was appropriate to the context, for Jews from throughout the known world were still in Jerusalem for the festival (vv. 5, 9-11). Furthermore, the miracle was not just a display of power but had meaningful content, for the incredulous listeners heard the gospel preached in their native languages (vv. 6-8). Most everyone would have understood Greek or Aramaic, but God chose to proclaim the good news in the “heart languages” of everyone present. This removal of the language barrier is the counterpart to what happened at the Tower of Babel (see Gen. 11:1-9). Then God multiplied languages to undercut human pride; here, He used the multiplicity of languages to bring glory to Himself. Such multilingualism will one day be part of believers' praise in heaven (Rev. 5:9)!
To honor the spirit of Pentecost, consider getting more involved in your church. Specifically, you could volunteer in a ministry that reaches out to international students or immigrant English language learners that may be in your community. It's a way to serve people by helping them get a key that opens doors to education and employment, and such a ministry includes loving our neighbor, hospitality, divers

ity, and mutual service—all beautiful aspects of the body of Christ!

Acts 2:1-41
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. - Acts 2:4

When you’re reading a novel, there’s a moment when it all comes together, when it all makes sense and you understand where all this is going. “Aha! So that’s what’s motivating him.” “Aha! So that’s the secret she was hiding.” “Aha! So that’s what the author is driving at.” No matter what kind of novel you’re reading, these “Aha!” moments of crystallization are one of the joys of imaginative literature.
The disciples probably had the same feeling in today’s reading. When the Holy Spirit descended, the gospel of Christ and the flow of biblical history became clear to them. “Aha!” 

Before His Resurrection and Ascension, Jesus had promised the disciples that when He left He would send “another Counselor to be with you forever–the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16-17). His presence would distinguish His followers from and empower them against an uncomprehending world. His daily filling would make it possible for us to live by faith, to pursue righteousness, and to show God’s love (Gal. 5:22-23).

On the day of Pentecost, the Jewish Feast of Weeks, about 120 believers were gathered in one place when the Holy Spirit descended. The fire and wind demonstrated His glory and power. The believers began to speak in tongues, proclaiming the gospel in many foreign languages. We have compelling evidence for this, since an initially skeptical international audience heard virtually every language of the known world (Acts 2:5). The listeners were amazed and confused, coming up with the lame guess that the believers must be drunk. 


"And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit. Be filled with the Spirit."-- Acts 2:4; 

Eph 5:18. 

IT IS good to know that there is just as much of the Holy Spirit's presence to-day, wherever two or three are gathered in Christ's Name, as there was in the upper room at Jerusalem. The difference is that we have not the same receptive attitude. We cannot say of God, who is infinite, that there is more of Him in this place than in that, or at one moment more than another. He is always equally everywhere. But where hearts are prepared, as were those of the disciples, can there be other than Pentecost! We may have the counterpart of all these wonderful experiences that came to them. The Spirit of God may inspire us, the fire of Divine love may kindle in our hearts, and we may obtain a new and marvellous power in speaking to men of the wonderful works of God.

They were all filled with the Spirit, and this is the command laid on us also. Let us ask whether this is our abiding experience, which is not intended for apostles and prophets only, but for the mother with her children, the business-man in his store, the young men and women in office or shop.

The result of this baptism of spiritual power was very remarkable. Thousands were converted and baptized, and they continued stedfastly. Such converts are a gain to any church, and it becomes invested with a Divine attractiveness and adhesiveness.

The teaching of doctrine, breaking of bread, and fellowship in prayer were the beginning of Our Church-ordinances. When young converts are given to any Church, provision should be made for services in which they may take part. The principle of having all things in common seems to have been abandoned by mutual consent. It seemed necessary at the outset that the new converts might be trained in Christian living, but it was evidently liable to abuse, and might have allured into the ranks of the Church lazy and undesirable impostors. It is probably a much wiser principle to administer our property for God than to give it away. (See Mt 25:20, 21; Lk 12:42, 43, 44.)

Notice their exuberant joy (Acts 2:46, 47). It is characteristic of the presence of the Holy Spirit in the life, and the result is love, joy, peace, etc., which is wonderfully attractive.

PRAYER - We ask of Thee, Heavenly Father, and claim of Thee by faith, this best of all good gifts, Thy Holy Spirit, that He may abide with us for ever, and that the fruits of the Spirit may abound in us. AMEN.


Matthew 6:24  "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.
Matthew 8:21 Another of the disciples said to Him, "Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father."
Matthew 10:23 "But whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the next; for truly I say to you, you will not finish going through the cities of Israel until the Son of Man comes.
Matthew 11:3 and said to Him, "Are You the Expected One, or shall we look for someone else?"
 16  "But to what shall I compare this generation? It is like children sitting in the market places, who call out to the other children,
Matthew 12:45 "Then it goes and takes along with it seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first. That is the way it will also be with this evil generation."
Matthew 15:30 And large crowds came to Him, bringing with them those who were lame, crippled, blind, mute, and many others, and they laid them down at His feet; and He healed them.
Matthew 16:14 And they said, "Some say John the Baptist; and others, Elijah; but still others, Jeremiah, or one of the prophets."
Matthew 21:30 "The man came to the second and said the same thing; and he answered, 'I will, sir'; but he did not go.
Mark 16:12  After that, He appeared in a different form to two of them while they were walking along on their way to the country.
Luke 3:18  So with many other exhortations he preached the gospel to the people.
Luke 4:43 But He said to them, "I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose."
Luke 5:7 so they signaled to their partners in the other boat for them to come and help them. And they came and filled both of the boats, so that they began to sink.
Luke 6:6  On another Sabbath He entered the synagogue and was teaching; and there was a man there whose right hand was withered.
Luke 7:41 "A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty.
Luke 8:3 and Joanna the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means.
 6 "Other seed fell on rocky soil, and as soon as it grew up, it withered away, because it had no moisture.
 7 "Other seed fell among the thorns; and the thorns grew up with it and choked it out.
 8 "Other seed fell into the good soil, and grew up, and produced a crop a hundred times as great." As He said these things, He would call out, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
Luke 9:29 And while He was praying, the appearance of His face became different, and His clothing became white and gleaming.
 56 for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them." And they went on to another village.
 59 And He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father."
 61 Another also said, "I will follow You, Lord; but first permit me to say good-bye to those at home."
Luke 10:1  Now after this the Lord appointed seventy others, and sent them in pairs ahead of Him to every city and place where He Himself was going to come.
Luke 11:16 Others, to test Him, were demanding of Him a sign from heaven.
 26 "Then it goes and takes along seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they go in and live there; and the last state of that man becomes worse than the first."
Luke 14:19 "Another one said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused.'
 20 "Another one said, 'I have married a wife, and for that reason I cannot come.'
 31 "Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand?
Luke 16:7 "Then he said to another, 'And how much do you owe?' And he said, 'A hundred measures of wheat.' He said to him, 'Take your bill, and write eighty.'
 13 "No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth."
 18  "Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and he who marries one who is divorced from a husband commits adultery.
Luke 17:34 "I tell you, on that night there will be two in one bed; one will be taken and the other will be left.
 35 "There will be two women grinding at the same place; one will be taken and the other will be left.
Luke 18:10 "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
Luke 19:20 "Another came, saying, 'Master, here is your mina, which I kept put away in a handkerchief;
Luke 20:11 "And he proceeded to send another slave; and they beat him also and treated him shamefully and sent him away empty-handed.
Luke 22:58 A little later, another saw him and said, "You are one of them too!" But Peter said, "Man, I am not!"
 65 And they were saying many other things against Him, blaspheming.
Luke 23:32  Two others also, who were criminals, were being led away to be put to death with Him.
 40 But the other answered, and rebuking him said, "Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?
John 19:37 And again another Scripture says, "THEY SHALL LOOK ON HIM WHOM THEY PIERCED."
Acts 1:20 "For it is written in the book of Psalms, 'LET HIS HOMESTEAD BE MADE DESOLATE, AND LET NO ONE DWELL IN IT'; and, 'LET ANOTHER MAN TAKE HIS OFFICE.'
Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
 13 But others were mocking and saying, "They are full of sweet wine."
 40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation!"
Acts 4:12 "And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved."
Acts 8:34 The eunuch answered Philip and said, "Please tell me, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself or of someone else?"
Acts 12:17 But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had led him out of the prison. And he said, "Report these things to James and the brethren." Then he left and went to another place.
Acts 13:35 "Therefore He also says in another Psalm, 'YOU WILL NOT ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY.'
Acts 15:35 But Paul and Barnabas stayed in Antioch, teaching and preaching with many others also, the word of the Lord.
Acts 17:7 and Jason has welcomed them, and they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus."
 21 (Now all the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new.)
 34 But some men joined him and believed, among whom also were Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them.
Acts 20:15 Sailing from there, we arrived the following day opposite Chios; and the next day we crossed over to Samos; and the day following we came to Miletus.
Acts 23:6  But perceiving that one group were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, Paul began crying out in the Council, "Brethren, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees; I am on trial for the hope and resurrection of the dead!"
Acts 27:1  When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, they proceeded to deliver Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan cohort named Julius.
 3 The next day we put in at Sidon; and Julius treated Paul with consideration and allowed him to go to his friends and receive care.
Romans 2:1  Therefore you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things.
 21 you, therefore, who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one shall not steal, do you steal?
Romans 7:3 So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man.
 4  Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God.
 23 but I see a different law in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin which is in my members.
Romans 8:39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 13:8  Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.
 9 For this, "YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET," and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF."
1 Corinthians 3:4 For when one says, "I am of Paul," and another, "I am of Apollos," are you not mere men?
1 Corinthians 4:6  Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively applied to myself and Apollos for your sakes, so that in us you may learn not to exceed what is written, so that no one of you will become arrogant in behalf of one against the other.
1 Corinthians 6:1  Does any one of you, when he has a case against his neighbor, dare to go to law before the unrighteous and not before the saints?
1 Corinthians 10:24 Let no one seek his own good, but that of his neighbor.
 29 I mean not your own conscience, but the other man's; for why is my freedom judged by another's conscience?
1 Corinthians 12:9 to another faith by the same Spirit, and to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,
 10 and to another the effecting of miracles, and to another prophecy, and to another the distinguishing of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, and to another the interpretation of tongues.
1 Corinthians 14:17 For you are giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not edified.
1 Corinthians 15:40 There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another.
2 Corinthians 8:8  I am not speaking this as a command, but as proving through the earnestness of others the sincerity of your love also.
2 Corinthians 11:4 For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.
Galatians 1:6  I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel;
 19 But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lord's brother.
Galatians 6:4 But each one must examine his own work, and then he will have reason for boasting in regard to himself alone, and not in regard to another.
Ephesians 3:5 which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit;
Philippians 2:4 do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.
1 Timothy 1:10 and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching,
2 Timothy 2:2 The things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, entrust these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.
Hebrews 5:6 just as He says also in another passage, "YOU ARE A PRIEST FOREVER ACCORDING TO THE ORDER OF MELCHIZEDEK."
Hebrews 7:11  Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron?
 13 For the one concerning whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar.
 15  And this is clearer still, if another priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek,
Hebrews 11:36 and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment.
James 2:25 In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?
Jude 1:7 just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities around them, since they in the same way as these indulged in gross immorality and went after strange flesh, are exhibited as an example in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.