Acts 2:41
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(41) They that gladly received his word were baptized.—This was, we must remember, no new emotion. Not four years had passed since there had been a like eagerness to rush to the baptism of John. (See Notes on Matthew 3:5; Matthew 11:12.)

Three thousand souls.—The largeness of the number has been urged as rendering it probable that the baptism was by affusion, not immersion. On the other hand, (1) immersion had clearly been practised by John, and was involved in the original meaning of the word, and it is not likely that the rite should have been curtailed of its full proportions at the very outset. (2) The symbolic meaning of the act required immersion in order that it might be clearly manifested, and Romans 6:4, and 1Peter 3:21, seem almost of necessity to imply the more complete mode. The swimming-baths of Bethesda and Siloam (see Notes on John 5:7; John 9:7), or the so-called Fountain of the Virgin, near the Temple enclosure, or the bathing-places within the Tower of Antony (Jos. Wars, v. 5, § 8), may well have helped to make the process easy. The sequel shows (1) that many converts were made from the Hellenistic Jews who were present at the Feast (Acts 6:1); and (2) that few, if any, of the converts were of the ruling class (Acts 4:1). It is obvious that some of these converts may have gone back to the cities whence they came, and may have been the unknown founders of the Church at Damascus, or Alexandria, or Rome itself.

Acts 2:41. Then they that gladly received his word, &c. — The apostle’s exhortation was not given in vain; many were awakened and savingly brought to God by it; for the influence of the Holy Spirit accompanied it, and wrought wonders thereby. Many of the same persons that had been eye-witnesses of the death of Christ, and of the prodigies that had attended it, and were not at all influenced by them, were now effectually wrought upon by the preaching of the word, and found it the power of God to their salvation. Such were baptized — Gladly receiving the word, believing with the heart, they made confession with the mouth, and enrolled themselves among the disciples of Christ, by that sacred rite and ceremony which he had instituted. Hereby there were added to the hundred and twenty disciples of Christ about three thousand souls that same day; the conversion of whom, by the word now spoken, was a greater work than the feeding of four or five thousand with a few loaves and fishes. Let it be observed here, they who are joined to Christ, ought to join themselves to the disciples of Christ, and be united with them: when we take God for our God, we must take his people for our people. It is commonly said, that all these were converted by one sermon, but, as has been intimated on Acts 2:14, it is probable, that while Peter was preaching in the Chaldaio-Syriac language, the other apostles were preaching at some small distance, much to the same purpose, in other languages; and it is not surely to be imagined, that none of them but Peter should be blessed as the means of converting any souls; not to insist upon it that he himself might deliver several discourses that day (and it was τη ημερα εκεινη, in that day, that the number here spoken of was added) to different auditories, when the concourse of people was so great, and their languages so various.2:37-41 From the first delivery of that Divine message, it appeared that there was Divine power going with it; and thousands were brought to the obedience of faith. But neither Peter's words, nor the miracle they witnessed, could have produced such effects, had not the Holy Spirit been given. Sinners, when their eyes are opened, cannot but be pricked to the heart for sin, cannot but feel an inward uneasiness. The apostle exhorted them to repent of their sins, and openly to avow their belief in Jesus as the Messiah, by being baptized in his name. Thus professing their faith in Him, they would receive remission of their sins, and partake of the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit. To separate from wicked people, is the only way to save ourselves from them. Those who repent of their sins, and give up themselves to Jesus Christ, must prove their sincerity by breaking off from the wicked. We must save ourselves from them; which denotes avoiding them with dread and holy fear. By God's grace three thousand persons accepted the gospel invitation. There can be no doubt that the gift of the Holy Ghost, which they all received, and from which no true believer has ever been shut out, was that Spirit of adoption, that converting, guiding, sanctifying grace, which is bestowed upon all the members of the family of our heavenly Father. Repentance and remission of sins are still preached to the chief of sinners, in the Redeemer's name; still the Holy Spirit seals the blessing on the believer's heart; still the encouraging promises are to us and our children; and still the blessings are offered to all that are afar off.They that gladly received - The word rendered "gladly" means "freely, cheerfully, joyfully." It implies that they did it without compulsion, and with joy. Religion is not compulsion. They who become Christians do it cheerfully; they do it rejoicing in the privilege of becoming reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. Though so many received his word and were baptized, yet it is implied that there were others who did not. It is probable that there were multitudes assembled who were alarmed, but who did not receive the word with joy. In all revivals there are many who become alarmed, and who are anxious about their souls, but who refuse to embrace the gospel, and again become thoughtless, and are ruined.

His word - The message which Peter had spoken respecting the pardon of sin through Jesus Christ.

Were baptized - That is, those who professed a readiness to embrace the offers of salvation. The narrative plainly implies that this was done the same day. Their conversion was instantaneous. The demand on them was to yield themselves at once to God. And their profession was made, and the ordinance which sealed their profession administered without delay.

And the same day - The discourse of Peter commenced at nine o'clock in the morning, Acts 2:15. How long it continued it is not said; but the ceremony of admitting them to the church and of baptizing them was evidently performed on the same day. The mode in which this is done is not mentioned; but it is highly improbable that in the midst of the city of Jerusalem three thousand persons were wholly immersed in one day. The whole narrative supposes that it was all done in the city; and yet there is no probability that there were conveniences there for immersing so many persons in a single day. Besides, in the ordinary way of administering baptism by immersion, it is difficult to conceive that so many persons could have been immersed in so short a time. There is, indeed, here no positive proof that they were not immersed; but the narrative is one of those incidental circumstances often much more satisfactory than philological discussion, that show the extreme improbability that all this was done by wholly immersing them in water. It may be further remarked that here is an example of very quick admission to the church. It was the first great work of grace under the gospel. It was the model of all revivals of religion. And it was doubtless intended that this should be a specimen of the manner in which the ministers of religion should act in regard to admissions to the Christian church. Prudence is indeed required; but this example furnishes no warrant for advising those who profess their willingness to obey Jesus Christ, to delay uniting with the church. If persons give evidence of piety, of true hatred of sin, and of attachment to the Lord Jesus; they should unite themselves to his people without delay.

There were added - To the company of disciples, or to the followers of Christ.

Souls - Persons. Compare 1 Peter 3:20; Genesis 12:5. It is not affirmed that all this took place in one part of Jerusalem, or that it was all done at once; but it is probable that this was what was afterward ascertained to be the fruit of this day's labor, the result of this revival of religion. This was the first effusion of the Holy Spirit under the preaching of the gospel; and it shows that such scenes are to be expected in the church, and that the gospel is suited to work a rapid and mighty change in the hearts of people.

Ac 2:41-47. Beautiful Beginnings of the Christian Church.

41-47. they that gladly received his word were baptized—"It is difficult to say how three thousand could be baptized in one day, according to the old practice of a complete submersion; and the more as in Jerusalem there was no water at hand except Kidron and a few pools. The difficulty can only be removed by supposing that they already employed sprinkling, or baptized in houses in large vessels. Formal submersion in rivers, or larger quantities of water, probably took place only where the locality conveniently allowed it" [Olshausen].

the same day there were added to them about three thousand souls—fitting inauguration of the new kingdom, as an economy of the Spirit!

They that gladly received his word; some still remained in their unbelief and hardness of heart; though never men spake as the apostles now spake, with divers tongues, &c.

Unto them; to the church, or the hundred and twenty formerly mentioned, Acts 1:15. This was the effect of Christ’s prayer for his persecutors, Luke 23:34; and of the promise of the Spirit now fulfilled, whereby in the day of his power they were made willing. Then they that gladly received his word,.... The Syriac version adds, "and believed"; what Peter said concerning repentance and baptism, and especially concerning remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost; and concerning the promise of Christ, and salvation by him, of the pardon of sin, and of the Holy Spirit; which doctrine they received with great joy and gladness, it being suitable to their case; and very "readily", and "willingly", as the Syriac and Arabic versions render it; for they were now made a willing people in the day of God's power, and now that promise, or prophecy, in Psalm 110:3 had a remarkable accomplishment; these converts were the dew of Christ's youth, as well as instances of his powerful and efficacious grace: not all that heard this sermon of Peter's received his doctrine in this manner, only some; and so the Syriac and Arabic versions render the words, "and some of them readily received", &c. which shows the distinguishing grace of God in this instance. The Vulgate Latin and Ethiopic versions leave out the word "gladly", which should not be omitted: and as soon as they had received the word, and were comforted by it, they

were baptized; in water, by immersion, for which there was great conveniency in Jerusalem, and in the temple, where the apostles now were: in the city of Jerusalem, in private houses, they had their baths for purifications, by immersion, as in the case of menstruous, gonorrhoeas, and other defilements, by touching unclean persons, and things, which were very frequent; so that a digger of cisterns, for such uses, and others, was a business in Jerusalem,

"Says Simeon Sicana (g), who was a digger of cisterns, ditches, and caves, in Jerusalem, to R. Jochanan ben Zaccai, I am as great a man as thou art; he made answer to him, why? (or your reason for it;) he replied to him, because I am employed in the necessary affairs of many, (or of the public,) as you are; for says he, if a man comes to you for judgment, or to ask a question, you say to him, drink out of this cistern, whose waters are pure, and cold; or, if a woman asks thee concerning her monstrous, you say to her, dip in this cistern, whose waters purify.

And in the temple there was an apartment, called , "the dipping place", or "room", where the high priest dipped himself on the day of atonement (h): and besides, there were ten lavers of brass, made by Solomon; and every laver held forty baths of water, and each was four cubits broad and long, sufficient for immersion of the whole body of a man; and to these Herbanus (i) the Jew seems to have respect, when he says, that in the outer part of Solomon's temple, there were "lavers", in every side, (or all around,) which were free, or open, for the use of all; to which, he thinks, the prophet Isaiah has respect, in Isaiah 1:16. Those were for the priests, both to wash their hands and feet at, and also to wash the burnt offerings; see Exodus 30:18 (k): and who were likewise obliged, very often, to bathe, or dip their whole bodies in water; for if a priest went out of the temple for a little while to speak with a friend, , "he was obliged to dipping": and if he nodded, he was obliged to wash his hands and his feet; but if he slept, he was obliged to dip himself; yea, a man might not go into the court, or to service, even though he was clean, , "until he dip himself" (l). Add to this, that there was the molten sea also for the priests to wash in, 2 Chronicles 4:6 which was done by immersion; on which one of the Jewish commentators (m) has these words:

"the sea was "for the dipping" of the priests; for in the midst of it, they dipped themselves from their uncleanness; but in the Jerusalem Talmud (n) there is an objection, is it not a vessel? as if it was said, how can they "dip" in it, for is it not a vessel? and there is no "dipping" in vessels: R. Joshua ben Levi replied, a pipe of water was laid to it from the fountain of Etam, and the feet of the oxen, (which were under the molten sea,) were open at the pomegranates; so that it was as if it was from under the earth, and the waters came to it, and entered, and ascended, by the way of the feet of the oxen, which were open beneath them, and bored.

The reason of the objection is, because bathing, or dipping for purification, was not made in vessels, but in gatherings, or pools of water upon the ground; and which objection is removed, by observing, that a pipe was laid from the fountain of Etam, which supplied it with spring, or running water; so that the molten sea, and the lavers, were looked upon all one as pools of water, or springs of water, and as fit for immersion. This sea was ten cubits from brim to brim, and five cubits high, and held two thousand baths, 1 Kings 7:23. Yea, three thousand, as in 2 Chronicles 6:5 and every laver held forty baths, 1 Kings 7:38 and every bath held four gallons and a half, and between seven and eight gallons of wine measure. And it may be observed, that there were also in Jerusalem the pool of Bethesda, into which persons went down at certain times, John 5:1 and the pool of Siloam, where persons bathed, and dipped themselves, on certain occasions; See Gill on John 9:7. So that there were conveniences enough for baptism by immersion in this place: and the same day there were added; unto them, or to the church, as in Acts 2:47 the whole company of the hundred and twenty disciples; the Arabic version supplies, "among the believers": the number of those, that were added to them, were about three thousand souls; or persons, men, and women; and their number is no objection to their being baptized by immersion. As for convenient places to baptize in, there were enough, as we have seen already; and there were administrators sufficient for this work: had there been no more than the twelve apostles, it was but two hundred and fifty men apiece; and there were twelve separate places in the temple, where they might be baptizing at the same time; there were the ten lavers, the molten sea, and the dipping room, so that the work was not so very heavy nor difficult; but besides, there were seventy disciples, who, as they were preachers of the word, were administrators of this ordinance; and supposing them all employed, as they might be, at the same time, either in the temple, or at the pools in Jerusalem, or at the baths, and cisterns, in private houses; they would not have more than six or seven and thirty persons apiece to baptize; and there was time enough in the day for it; it was but the third hour, or nine o'clock in the morning, when Peter began his sermon; and allowing an hour for that, there were eight hours more in the day, according to the Jewish reckoning of twelve hours in a day; so that the business might be done without any hurry, or great fatigue; and indeed, the objection, as to time, would equally lie against sprinkling, or pouring, as dipping; at least the difference is very inconsiderable; for the same form of words must be pronounced in administering the ordinance by the one, as by the other; and a person being ready, is very near as soon dipped into water, as water can be taken, and sprinkled, or poured on the face. Besides, after all, though these persons were added to the church the same day, it does not necessarily follow from the text, that they were all baptized in one day; the words do not oblige us to such a sense: I own, I am of opinion, that they were all baptized in one day; and that on the same day they were baptized, they were joined to the church; and that day was the day of Pentecost, the day on which the law was given on Mount Sinai, and on which now the Gospel was published to men of all nations under the heavens; the day on which the firstfruits were offered to the Lord, and on which now the firstfruits of the death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ were brought in to him. Let the order be observed, they were first baptized, and then added to the church,

(g) Midrash Kohelet, fol. 70. 3.((h) T. Bab. Yoma, fol. 16. 1. & 19. & Maimon. Beth. Habbechira, c. 5. sect. 11. 17. (i) Disput. Gregantii, p. 131. (k) Vid. Jarchi & Kimchi in 1 Kings 7.38. & Ralbag in 2 Chron. 5. (l) T. Hieros. Yoma, fol. 40. 2. Misna Yoma, c. 3. sect. 3.((m) R. David Kimchi. (n) lb. Yoma, fol. 41. 1.

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

(10) A notable example of the power of the Holy Spirit: but such are not baptized until they make confession of their faith. (Ed.)

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Acts 2:41. Μὲν οὖν] namely, in consequence of these representations of the apostle. We may translate either: they then who received his word (namely, σώθητε κ.τ.λ.), comp. Acts 8:4 (so Vulgate, Luther, Beza, Bengel, Kuinoel, and others); or, they then (those indicated in Acts 2:37), after they received his word, etc., comp. Acts 1:6, Acts 8:25, Acts 15:3 (so Castalio, de Wette). The latter is correct, because, according to the former view of the meaning, there must have been mention previously of a reception of the word, to which reference would here be made. As this is not the case, those present in general are meant, as in Acts 2:37, and ἀποδεξάμενοι τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ (Acts 2:40) stands in a climactic relation to κατενύγησαν (Acts 2:37).

προσετέθησαν] were added (Acts 2:47; Acts 5:14; Acts 11:24), namely, to the fellowship of the already existing followers of Jesus, as is self-evident from the context.

ψυχαί] persons, according to the Hebrew נֶפֶשּׁ, Exodus 1:5; Acts 7:14; 1 Peter 3:20; this use is not classical, since, in the passages apparently proving it (Eur. Androm. 612, Med. 247, al.; see Kypke, II. p. 19), ψυχή means, in the strict sense, soul (life).

The text does not affirm that the baptism of the three thousand occurred on the spot and simultaneously, but only that it took place during the course of that day (τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ). Observe further, that their baptism was conditioned only by the μετάνοια and by faith on Jesus as the Messiah; and, accordingly, it had their further Christian instruction not as a preceding, but as a subsequent, condition (Acts 2:42).Acts 2:41. Οἱ μὲν οὖν: a truly Lucan formula, see Acts 1:6. There is no anacoluthon, but for the answering δέ see Acts 5:42. The words therefore refer to those mentioned in Acts 5:37; in contrast to the three thousand fear came upon every person, ψυχή, so Mr. Page, on μὲν οὖν, in loco. Mr. Rendall finds the answering δέ in Acts 5:42; two phases of events are contrasted; three thousand converts are added in one day—they clave stedfastly to the Christian communion. See also his Appendix on μὲν οὖν, p. 162.—ἀποδεξάμενοι τὸν λόγον αὐτοῦ: used in classical Greek, especially in Plato, of receiving a teacher or his arguments with acceptance, and in the N.T. of receiving with approval; cf. Acts 24:3. The verb is only found in St. Luke in the N.T. with varying shades of meaning, twice in his Gospel, and five times in Acts in all parts. Only found in LXX in Apocryphal books, Tob 7:17, Jdt 13:13 (but see Hatch and Redpath, sub v.), and in the Books of the Maccabees; cf. Acts 18:27, Acts 21:17, Acts 24:3, Acts 28:30, see below.—ἐβαπτίσθησαν. There is nothing in the text which intimates that the Baptism of the three thousand was performed, not on the day of Pentecost, but during the days which followed. At the same time it is not said that the Baptism of such a multitude took place at one time or in one place on the day of the Feast, or that the rite was performed by St. Peter alone. Felten allows that others besides the Twelve may have baptised. See his note, in loco, and also Zöckler, Apostelgeschichte, p. 183.—προσετέθησαν, cf. Acts 2:47, and Acts 5:14, Acts 11:24. In the LXX the same verb is used, Isaiah 14:1, for a proselyte who is joined to Israel, so too Esther 9:27.—ψυχαὶ, “souls,” i.e., persons. See on Acts 2:43.—ὡσωὶ τρισχίλιαι: the adverb is another favourite word of St. Luke (Friedrich)—it is not found in St. John, and in St. Mark only once, in St. Matthew three times, but in St. Luke’s Gospel eight or nine times, and in Acts six or seven times. As in Acts 1:15 the introduction of the adverb is against the supposition that the number was a fictitious one. We cannot suppose that the influence and the recollection of Jesus had vanished within a few short weeks without leaving a trace behind, and where the proclamation of Him as the Christ followed upon the wonderful gift of tongues, in which many of the people would see the inspiration of God and a confirmation given by Him to the claims made by the disciples, hearts and consciences might well be stirred and quickened—and the movement once begun was sure to spread (see the remarks of Spitta, Apostelgeschichte, p. 60, on the birthday of the Church, in spite of the suspicion with which he regards the number three thousand).41–47. The first Converts and their behaviour

41. Then they that gladly received his word] The oldest MSS. Omit gladly. The latter clause of the verse is more literally, And there were added on that day about three thousand souls, i.e. to the one hundred and twenty of whom the Church consisted when the day began.Acts 2:41. Οἱ) That is, they who did not stop short with mere compunction, but willingly (gladly), and in very deed, were obedient to the exhortation. This was the characteristic feature of the New Testament Pentecost.—ἀποδεξάμενοι) The subject, not a part of the predicate. They receiving the ‘saying,’ or word, “worthy of all acceptation:” 1 Timothy 1:15.—ἐβαπτίσθησαν, were baptized) Understand, and received the gift of the Holy Spirit, Acts 2:38.—καὶ, and) And so.—προσετέθησαν, there were added) Previously there had been only one hundred and twenty names: and yd the souls about three thousand are said to have been added [to the 120, though so much smaller a number], because the former (the 120), few as they were, nevertheless constituted the original head and body of believers. So in Acts 2:47, “The Lord added to the Church.”—ὡσεὶ τρισχίλιαι, about three thousand) How marvellous was the efficacy of the Gospel!Verse 41. - They then for then they, A.V.; received for gladly received, A.V. and T.R.; there were added unto them in that day for the same day there were added unto them, A.V. Gladly received. The best manuscripts omit ἀσμενως, which, indeed, is superfluous, as the word ἀποδέχομαι contains in itself the idea of a kind reception - a welcome (Luke 8:40; Acts 15:4; Acts 24:3).
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