Apostles receive the Holy Spirit
Apostles receive the Holy Spirit

When the day of the Pentecost arrived, all the disciples were gathered together in one place. Suddenly, a sound like the blowing of a violent wind filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

The disciples were staying in Jerusalem. God-fearing Jews from every nation were there. When they heard the sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked, “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language. Parthians, Medes, and Elamites, residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene, visitors from Rome, Cretans and Arabs – we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”

Pentecost, Hosios Loukas, Katholicon (sanctuary vault), 11th century.

Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

Some however, made fun of the disciples and said, “They have had too much wine.”

Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and addressed the crowd,

“Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain to you what you are seeing. These people are not drunk as you suppose. It is only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

‘In the last days, God says, I will pour my Spirit on all people. Your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”

“Jesus was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan, and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to a cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.”

“David said about him: ‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices. My body will rest in hope, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead. You will not let your holy one see decay. You have made known to me the paths of life. You will fill me with joy in your presence.’”

“I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. He was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead. God has raised Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses to it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. David did not ascend to heaven and yet he said, ‘The Lord said to my lord: Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’”

Tongues of fire descend on the apostles at Pentecost. Lithograph.

Therefore, let all of Israel be assured of this: God has made Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

“Repent and be baptized, everyone one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

With many other words, he warned them and pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”

Those who accepted his message were baptized. About 3,000 were added to their number that day.

What the story means to us today

Peter teaches us how to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit

After the crowd witnessed the pouring of the holy Spirit on the disciples, Peter explained to them what they had seen and what they should now do. Peter’s message applies equally to us today. We must ask for forgiveness for our sins – then be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Only then will the “gift of the Holy Spirit” be bestowed upon us.

Additional thoughts and considerations

Three separate events

Note that three separate events occurred in these verses. (1) The crowd witnesses the Holy Spirit manifest through the disciples, a spirit which enables them to speak in multiple languages at the same time. (2) Peter gives a sermon to the crowd. (3) Thousands of new believers were brought into the Christian family.

John the Baptist prophesied the Holy Spirit

Pentecost Descent of the Holy Spirit - Bishop Daniel

The verses tell us that a violent wind filled the home of the disciples and tongues of fire touched each one as they were filled with the Holy Spirit. Recall that John the Baptist had already foretold the event.

John the Baptist says in Matthew 3:11 (and in Luke),

“I will baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Hold Spirit and fire.”

The people of Peter’s day witnessed John the Baptist’s prophecy fulfilled – and what they saw was powerful enough to encourage 3,000 people to convert to Christianity in a single day.

Repent and be baptized

Peter tells the crowd that their recourse is to “Repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sin.” Does forgiveness of sins come from being baptized?

From other verses in Acts, we are shown that repentance often precedes baptism. Even today, most baptisms accompany forgiveness of sins, i.e. you must first ask for forgiveness of your sins before being baptized.  But the two are indeed mutually exclusive.

If Peter’s instruction was translated literally, it would result in this awkward phrase:

“Repent with reference to your sins and let each one of you be baptized”.

In a sense, Peter provides two different instructions referring to two different forms of baptism. First, a spiritual baptism, the cleansing of the soul that occurs when we ask God for forgiveness of our sins (i.e. repent). According to Peter, this should be followed by a physical baptism, an outward cleansing of the body that publicly proclaims our belief in Jesus and our commitment to God and his will.

What does it mean to repent?

Some believe repentance is nothing more than the act of asking for forgiveness. It is not. Repentance involves confession of one’s sin and a genuine change of heart. In fact, the original Greek word implies a change of mind *and* actions. To repent, you must not only confess your sins, but ask for forgiveness – and make a true effort to do better.

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Why is baptism important?

The act of repentance is a personal one. It could be a silent prayer or an inward commitment to follow God. But baptism is an outward demonstration of one’s allegiance to God. It’s the final act of devotion to God that publicly demonstrates our commitment before others.

Is baptism required to be saved? Is baptism required to be a Christian?

Various Christian branches treat baptism differently. Some wonder if baptism is required to be saved, or if baptism is required to be forgiven for your sins.

Pentecost - Unknown artist

According to most Christian branches, there is nothing in the scriptures that tells us that baptism is required for true repentance. Putting the scriptures in context with ancient social constructs hints that baptism would be a symbolic outward expression of one’s Christian faith, an indication of belonging to Christ, in a manner that was a familiar to Jews in Jesus’ day.

Earlier verses, specifically those involving John the Baptist, show us that in Jesus’ day, baptism was closely associated with Christianity and the Christian movement. If an outsider saw someone being baptized, they knew that person was a practicing Christian.

Ancient customs and rituals practiced by Jews almost always involved an outward expression of faith. In fact, to the people in Jesus’ day, inward spirituality was probably an unfamiliar concept. One always publicly bore witness to their faith in an outward manner through for instance, ritual or the act of circumcision. Thus, the various scripts concerning baptism may be included alongside commands regarding repentance because of the listener’s close association between a person’s religion and the outward expression of one’s religious faith. However, we must note that since the earliest days of Christianity, spiritual baptism (of the Holy Spirit) has always been associated with water baptism.

What does “in the name of Jesus” mean?

The phrase “in the name of Jesus” appears multiple times in Acts. Just as baptism is an outward commitment to follow God, “in the name of Jesus” indicates your commitment to follow Jesus’ teachings, belief in the new covenant he delivered from God, and an understanding that his name rises above all others. There is no requirement to speak the phrase aloud, but if done, like baptism, it outwardly expresses your commitment before others.

What is the Holy Spirit?

Ask ten people what the Holy Spirit is and you will get ten different answers. This is because nobody really knows what the Holy Spirit is. And that’s okay. Just like we are unable to envision what God truly is, the Holy Spirit is an evasive concept, especially if you attempt to explain it in physical terms. What we do know is that it is closely related to God, possibly even an aspect (aka the “Spirit of God”) or active dimension of God, and its power is immense – and as Peter tells us, it is a gift from God offered to all Christian followers to the end of time.

Does infusion with the Holy Spirit mean I should be able to speak in tongues?

If we interpret the scripture as inferring the voice of each disciple was being interpreted uniquely depending on the listener’s native tongue, no earthly explanation can be offered for the phenomena. Thus, we are shown the Holy Spirit operating in a manner that cannot be explained in terms mankind can comprehend.

Several Christian sects believe in “speaking on tongues” to various degrees. After all, if it happened to the disciples, it certainly could happen in modern times too. However, these verses do not tell us that speaking in tongues always follows repentance, baptism, or that it is a requirement at all. Instead, the verses simply tell us that the Holy Spirit enabled the disciples to simultaneously speak in foreign languages.

We can presume the Holy Spirit is a force stronger than any other force known to mankind, and that it is capable of bestowing an infinite array of abilities to a Christian follower. In Peter’s day, it allowed the disciples to speak in foreign tongues. The same could happen to any Christian today – or something even more powerful could be gifted.

The confusion around Psalm 16 and Psalm 110

Peter mentions passages from Psalm 16 and Psalm 110 that are direct quotes from David. In Psalm 16, David notes that he is unafraid because “the Lord is always with me”. But who was the “Lord” that David spoke of?

Apostles with tongues of fire over heads - Unknown Artist

David recounts that his heart is glad, and his tongue rejoices and that God will not let him be “abandoned to the realm of the dead nor will God let your faithful one see decay”. But seemingly counter to his belief, David did die and decay? So who was David referring to?

In Psalm 110 David says, “the Lord says to my Lord, I will make your enemies a footstool for your feet”. But how can the Lord speak to himself? David’s statement seems bizarre, impossible, inexplicable. Indeed, in the days of early Judaism, these verses were not understood by readers.

David was a prophet but in the days before Jesus arrived, nobody knew that God would keep a person from the grave or a body from undergoing decay. “The Lord says to my Lord” made no sense to them at all. It was as if God was talking to himself. Nor could they understand why the Lord would say to my Lord, “sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet”. Prior to Jesus’ arrival, these verses were enigmatic and confusing because there was no messianic basis for their translation.

But Peter points out that David did die and “decay” and as a prophet, the words he spoke were now clear – there will be another who arrives and sits at the right hand of God, one that will die but be resurrected. To the Jews of Jesus’ day, suddenly David’s words made sense.

The science and history behind the story

The Day of Pentecost

The Day of Pentecost, or Festival of Weeks, was a Jewish festival. It occurs 50 days after Passover (a “week of weeks” plus one day) around May or June, during which people celebrated the first wheat harvest. In Jesus’ day, the event would require all Jewish men travel to Jerusalem for the celebration.

Notes on Biblical translation

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

More literally, the verses says “divided tongues as of fire”. The precise meaning is difficult to translate. Most versions translate the phrase loosely to remain purposely vague. The same word for “tongues of fire” appears in the following verse too: “And they began to speak in other tongues”.

“They have had too much wine”

The original verses say “they are full of new wine”. New wine would refer to wine that has recently completed the process of fermentation. It would presumably be at its maximum potency (despite popular belief, the alcohol content of wine does not increase over time).

Bible Text

NIV

African Pentecost - Unknown Artist

2 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues x as the Spirit enabled them.

5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, d 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?”

13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”

14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 “ ‘In the last days, God says,

I will pour out my Spirit on all people.

Your sons and daughters will prophesy,

your young men will see visions,

your old men will dream dreams.

18 Even on my servants, both men and women,

I will pour out my Spirit in those days,

and they will prophesy.

19 I will show wonders in the heavens above

and signs on the earth below,

blood and fire and billows of smoke.

20 The sun will be turned to darkness

and the moon to blood

before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.

21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 25 David said about him:

“ ‘I saw the Lord always before me.

Because he is at my right hand,

I will not be shaken.

26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;

my body also will rest in hope,

27 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,

you will not let your holy one see decay.

28 You have made known to me the paths of life;

you will fill me with joy in your presence.’ y

29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,

“ ‘The Lord said to my Lord:

“Sit at my right hand

35 until I make your enemies

a footstool for your feet.” ’ m

36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

The New International Version. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011. Print.

The NET Bible

Pentecost by El Greco

2:1 Now when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2:2 Suddenly a sound like a violent wind blowing came from heaven and filled the entire house where they were sitting. 2:3 And tongues spreading out like a fire appeared to them and came to rest on each one of them. 2:4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them.

2:5 Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven residing in Jerusalem. 2:6 When this sound occurred, a crowd gathered and was in confusion, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 2:7 Completely baffled, they said, “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 2:8 And how is it that each one of us hears them in our own native language? 2:9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and the province of Asia, 2:10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 2:11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own languages about the great deeds God has done!” 2:12 All were astounded and greatly confused, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 2:13 But others jeered at the speakers, saying, “They are drunk on new wine!”

2:14 But Peter stood up with the eleven, raised his voice, and addressed them: “You men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, know this and listen carefully to what I say. 2:15 In spite of what you think, these men are not drunk, for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 2:16 But this is what was spoken about through the prophet Joel:

    2:17 ‘And in the last days it will be,’ God says,

    ‘that I will pour out my Spirit on all people,

    and your sons and your daughters will prophesy,

    and your young men will see visions,

    and your old men will dream dreams.

    2:18 Even on my servants, both men and women,

    I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.

    2:19 And I will perform wonders in the sky above

    and miraculous signs on the earth below,

    blood and fire and clouds of smoke.

    2:20 The sun will be changed to darkness

    and the moon to blood

    before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes.

    2:21 And then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’

2:22 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man clearly attested to you by God with powerful deeds, wonders, and miraculous signs that God performed among you through him, just as you yourselves know—2:23 this man, who was handed over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you executed by nailing him to a cross at the hands of Gentiles. 2:24 But God raised him up, having released him from the pains of death, because it was not possible for him to be held in its power. 2:25 For David says about him,

    ‘I saw the Lord always in front of me,

    for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken.

    2:26 Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue rejoiced;

    my body also will live in hope,

    2:27 because you will not leave my soul in Hades,

    nor permit your Holy One to experience decay.

    2:28 You have made known to me the paths of life;

    you will make me full of joy with your presence.’

2:29 “Brothers, I can speak confidently to you about our forefather David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 2:30 So then, 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, 2:31 David by foreseeing this spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did his body experience decay. 2:32 This Jesus God raised up, and we are all witnesses of it. 2:33 So then, exalted to the right hand of God, and having received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, he has poured out what you both see and hear. 2:34 For David did not ascend into heaven, but he himself says,

    ‘The Lord said to my lord,

    “Sit at my right hand

    2:35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.” ’

2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know beyond a doubt that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ.”

2:37 Now when they heard this, they were acutely distressed and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “What should we do, brothers?” 2:38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each one 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. 2:39 For the promise is for you and your children, and for all who are far away, as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.” 2:40 With many other words he testified and exhorted them saying, “Save yourselves from this perverse generation!” 2:41 So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added.

Biblical Studies Press. The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible. Biblical Studies Press, 2006. Print.

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New King James Version

2 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. 7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” 12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?”

13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”

14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

    17      ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God,

    That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;

    Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,

    Your young men shall see visions,

    Your old men shall dream dreams.

    18      And on My menservants and on My maidservants

    I will pour out My Spirit in those days;

    And they shall prophesy.

    19      I will show wonders in heaven above

    And signs in the earth beneath:

    Blood and fire and vapor of smoke.

    20      The sun shall be turned into darkness,

    And the moon into blood,

    Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the LORD.

    21      And it shall come to pass

    That whoever calls on the name of the LORD

    Shall be saved.’

22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know—23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. 25 For David says concerning Him:

    ‘I foresaw the LORD always before my face,

    For He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken.

    26      Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad;

    Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.

    27      For You will not leave my soul in Hades,

    Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.

    28      You have made known to me the ways of life;

    You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’

29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 31 he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear.

34 “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself:

    ‘The LORD said to my Lord,

    “Sit at My right hand,

    35      Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” ’

36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.

The New King James Version. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982. Print.

The Message

      1–4 2 When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them.

      5–11 There were many Jews staying in Jerusalem just then, devout pilgrims from all over the world. When they heard the sound, they came on the run. Then when they heard, one after another, their own mother tongues being spoken, they were thunderstruck. They couldn’t for the life of them figure out what was going on, and kept saying, “Aren’t these all Galileans? How come we’re hearing them talk in our various mother tongues?

           Parthians, Medes, and Elamites;

           Visitors from Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene;

           Immigrants from Rome, both Jews and proselytes;

           Even Cretans and Arabs!

      “They’re speaking our languages, describing God’s mighty works!”

      12 Their heads were spinning; they couldn’t make head or tail of any of it. They talked back and forth, confused: “What’s going on here?”

      13 Others joked, “They’re drunk on cheap wine.”

      14–21 That’s when Peter stood up and, backed by the other eleven, spoke out with bold urgency: “Fellow Jews, all of you who are visiting Jerusalem, listen carefully and get this story straight. These people aren’t drunk as some of you suspect. They haven’t had time to get drunk—it’s only nine o’clock in the morning. This is what the prophet Joel announced would happen:

           “In the Last Days,” God says,

           “I will pour out my Spirit

             on every kind of people:

           Your sons will prophesy,

             also your daughters;

           Your young men will see visions,

             your old men dream dreams.

           When the time comes,

             I’ll pour out my Spirit

           On those who serve me, men and women both,

             and they’ll prophesy.

           I’ll set wonders in the sky above

             and signs on the earth below,

           Blood and fire and billowing smoke,

             the sun turning black and the moon blood-red,

           Before the Day of the Lord arrives,

             the Day tremendous and marvelous;

           And whoever calls out for help

             to me, God, will be saved.”

    22–28 “Fellow Israelites, listen carefully to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man thoroughly accredited by God to you—the miracles and wonders and signs that God did through him are common knowledge—this Jesus, following the deliberate and well-thought-out plan of God, was betrayed by men who took the law into their own hands, and was handed over to you. And you pinned him to a cross and killed him. But God untied the death ropes and raised him up. Death was no match for him. David said it all:

           I saw God before me for all time.

             Nothing can shake me; he’s right by my side.

           I’m glad from the inside out, ecstatic;

             I’ve pitched my tent in the land of hope.

           I know you’ll never dump me in Hades;

             I’ll never even smell the stench of death.

           You’ve got my feet on the life-path,

             with your face shining sun-joy all around.

    29–36 “Dear friends, let me be completely frank with you. Our ancestor David is dead and buried—his tomb is in plain sight today. But being also a prophet and knowing that God had solemnly sworn that a descendant of his would rule his kingdom, seeing far ahead, he talked of the resurrection of the Messiah—‘no trip to Hades, no stench of death.’ This Jesus, God raised up. And every one of us here is a witness to it. Then, raised to the heights at the right hand of God and receiving the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, he poured out the Spirit he had just received. That is what you see and hear. For David himself did not ascend to heaven, but he did say,

           God said to my Master, “Sit at my right hand

           Until I make your enemies a stool for resting your feet.”

      “All Israel, then, know this: There’s no longer room for doubt—God made him Master and Messiah, this Jesus whom you killed on a cross.”

      37 Cut to the quick, those who were there listening asked Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers! Brothers! So now what do we do?”

      38–39 Peter said, “Change your life. Turn to God and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, so your sins are forgiven. Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is targeted to you and your children, but also to all who are far away—whomever, in fact, our Master God invites.”

      40 He went on in this vein for a long time, urging them over and over, “Get out while you can; get out of this sick and stupid culture!”

      41–42 That day about three thousand took him at his word, were baptized and were signed up.

Peterson, Eugene H. The Message: The Bible in Contemporary Language. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, 2005. Print.

King James Version

2 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. 2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were kconfounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. 7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? 8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in rPontus, and sAsia, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God. 12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this? 13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

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: 15 For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day. 16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel; 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: 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy: 19 And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come: 21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. 22 Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and xwonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: 23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it. 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: 26 Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: 27 Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. 28 Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. 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. 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; 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. 32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. 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. 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, 35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool. 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.

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? 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. 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. 40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.

41 Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.

The Holy Bible: King James Version. Electronic Edition of the 1900 Authorized Version. Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2009. Print.

Sources: NIV, The Message, The NET Bible, King James Version, NET Bible Notes, Faithlife Study Bible, The Apologetics Study Bible, The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary, The Bible Reader’s Companion, Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Holman Concise Bible Commentary, The Bible Exposition Commentary, The Teacher’s Bible Commentary, The Teacher’s Commentary, The Bible Guide, Word Studies in the New Testament, Holman Bible Handbook, Calvin Commentaries, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines, The New Manner and Customs of the Bible, Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary, The Lexham Bible Dictionary, Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Harper’s Bible Dictionary, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, The Archaeological Encyclopedia, Biblical Archaeology Review, The New Bible Dictionary, The Lexham Analytical Lexicon, Glossary of Morpho-Syntactic Database
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