Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
Ac 2:1-13. Descent of the Spirit—The Disciples Speak with Tongues—Amazement of the Multitude.
1-4. when the day of Pentecost was fully come—The fiftieth from the morrow after the first Passover sabbath (Le 23:15, 16).
with one accord—the solemnity of the day, perhaps, unconsciously raising their expectations.
And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.
2. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, &c.—"The whole description is so picturesque and striking that it could only come from an eye-witness" [Olshausen]. The suddenness, strength, and diffusiveness of the sound strike with deepest awe the whole company, and thus complete their preparation for the heavenly gift. Wind was a familiar emblem of the Spirit (Eze 37:9; Joh 3:8; 20:22). But this was not a rush of actual wind. It was only a sound "as of" it.
And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.
3. cloven tongues, like as of fire, &c.—"disparted tongues," that is, tongue-shaped, flame-like appearances, rising from a common center or root, and resting upon each of that large company:—beautiful visible symbol of the burning energy of the Spirit now descending in all His plenitude upon the Church, and about to pour itself through every tongue, and over every tribe of men under heaven!
And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.
4. they … began to speak with … tongues, &c.—real, living languages, as is plain from what follows. The thing uttered, probably the same by all, was "the wonderful works of God," perhaps in the inspired words of the Old Testament evangelical hymns; though it is next to certain that the speakers themselves understood nothing of what they uttered (see on 1Co 14:1-25).
And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
5-11. there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men out of every nation—not, it would seem, permanently settled there (see Ac 2:9), though the language seems to imply more than a temporary visit to keep this one feast.
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 they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
9-11. Parthians, &c.—Beginning with the farthest east, the Parthians, the enumeration proceeds farther and farther westward till it comes to Judea; next come the western countries, from Cappadocia to Pamphylia; then the southern, from Egypt to Cyrene; finally, apart from all geographical consideration, Cretes and Arabians are placed together. This enumeration is evidently designed to convey an impression of universality [Baumgarten].
Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues 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.
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:
Ac 2:14-36. Peter for the First Time, Publicly Preaches Christ.
14-21. Peter, standing up with the eleven—in advance, perhaps, of the rest.
For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.
15. these are not drunken—meaning, not the Eleven, but the body of the disciples.
but the third hour—nine A.M. (see Ec 10:16; Isa 5:11; 1Th 5:17).
But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
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:
17. in the last days—meaning, the days of the Messiah (Isa 2:2); as closing all preparatory arrangements, and constituting the final dispensation of God's kingdom on earth.
pour out of my Spirit—in contrast with the mere drops of all preceding time.
upon all flesh—hitherto confined to the seed of Abraham.
sons … daughters … young men … old men … servants … handmaidens—without distinction of sex, age, or rank.
see visions … dream dreams—This is a mere accommodation to the ways in which the Spirit operated under the ancient economy, when the prediction was delivered; for in the New Testament, visions and dreams are rather the exception than the rule.
And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:
And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke:
19. I will show wonders, &c.—referring to the signs which were to precede the destruction of Jerusalem (see on Lu 21:25-28).
The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
21. whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved—This points to the permanent establishment of the economy of salvation, which followed on the breaking up of the Jewish state.
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:
22-28. a man approved of God—rather, "authenticated," "proved," or "demonstrated to be from God."
by miracles … which God did by him—This is not a low view of our Lord's miracles, as has been alleged, nor inconsistent with Joh 2:11, but is in strict accordance with His progress from humiliation to glory, and with His own words in Joh 5:19. This view of Christ is here dwelt on to exhibit to the Jews the whole course of Jesus of Nazareth as the ordinance and doing of the God of Israel [Alford].
Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
23. determinate counsel and foreknowledge—God's fixed plan and perfect foresight of all the steps involved in it.
ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain—How strikingly is the criminality of Christ's murderers here presented in harmony with the eternal purpose to surrender Him into their hands!
Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.
24. was not possible he should be holden of it—Glorious saying! It was indeed impossible that "the Living One" should remain "among the dead" (Lu 24:5); but here, the impossibility seems to refer to the prophetic assurance that He should not see corruption.
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:
Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope:
Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
27. wilt not leave my soul in hell—in its disembodied state (see on Lu 16:23).
neither … suffer thine Holy One to see corruption—in the grave.
Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.
28. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life—that is, resurrection-life.
thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance—that is, in glory; as is plain from the whole connection and the actual words of the sixteenth Psalm.
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.
29-36. David … is … dead and buried, &c.—Peter, full of the Holy Ghost, sees in this sixteenth Psalm, one Holy Man, whose life of high devotedness and lofty spirituality is crowned with the assurance, that though He taste of death, He shall rise again without seeing corruption, and be admitted to the bliss of God's immediate presence. Now as this was palpably untrue of David, it could be meant only of One other, even of Him whom David was taught to expect as the final Occupant of the throne of Israel. (Those, therefore, and they are many, who take David himself to be the subject of this Psalm, and the words quoted to refer to Christ only in a more eminent sense, nullify the whole argument of the apostle). The Psalm is then affirmed to have had its only proper fulfilment in Jesus, of whose resurrection and ascension they were witnesses, while the glorious effusion of the Spirit by the hand of the ascended One, setting an infallible seal upon all, was even then witnessed by the thousands who stood listening to Him. A further illustration of Messiah's ascension and session at God's right hand is drawn from Ps 110:1, in which David cannot be thought to speak of himself, seeing he is still in his grave.
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;
He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.
This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.
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.
For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,
Until I make thy foes thy footstool.
Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
36. Therefore—that is, to sum up all.
let all the house of Israel—for in this first discourse the appeal is formally made to the whole house of Israel, as the then existing Kingdom of God.
know assuredly—by indisputable facts, fulfilled predictions, and the seal of the Holy Ghost set upon all.
that God hath made—for Peter's object was to show them that, instead of interfering with the arrangements of the God of Israel, these events were His own high movements.
this same Jesus, whom ye have crucified—"The sting is at the close" [Bengel]. To prove to them merely that Jesus was the Messiah might have left them all unchanged in heart. But to convince them that He whom they had crucified had been by the right hand of God exalted, and constituted the "Lord" whom David in spirit adored, to whom every knee shall bow, and the Christ of God, was to bring them to "look on Him whom they had pierced and mourn for Him."
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?
37-40. pricked in their hearts—the begun fulfilment of Zec 12:10, whose full accomplishment is reserved for the day when "all Israel shall be saved" (see on Ro 11:26).
what shall we do?—This is that beautiful spirit of genuine compunction and childlike docility, which, discovering its whole past career to have been one frightful mistake, seeks only to be set right for the future, be the change involved and the sacrifices required what they may. So Saul of Tarsus (Ac 9:6).
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.
38. Repent—The word denotes change of mind, and here includes the reception of the Gospel as the proper issue of that revolution of mind which they were then undergoing.
baptized … for the remission of sins—as the visible seal of that remission.
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.
39. For the promise—of the Holy Ghost, through the risen Saviour, as the grand blessing of the new covenant.
all afar off—the Gentiles, as in Eph 2:17), but "to the Jew first."
And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
40. with many other words did he testify and exhort—Thus we have here but a summary of Peter's discourse; though from the next words it would seem that only the more practical parts, the home appeals, are omitted.
Save yourselves from this untoward generation—as if Peter already foresaw the hopeless impenitence of the nation at large, and would have his hearers hasten in for themselves and secure their own salvation.
Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
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!
And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
42. continued steadfastly in—"attended constantly upon."
the apostles' doctrine—"teaching"; giving themselves up to the instructions which, in their raw state, would be indispensable to the consolidation of the immense multitude suddenly admitted to visible discipleship.
fellowship—in its largest sense.
breaking of bread—not certainly in the Lord's Supper alone, but rather in frugal repasts taken together, with which the Lord's Supper was probably conjoined until abuses and persecution led to the discontinuance of the common meal.
prayers—probably, stated seasons of it.
And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.
43. fear came upon every soul—A deep awe rested upon the whole community.
And all that believed were together, and had all things common;
44. all that believed were together, and had all things common—(See on Ac 4:34-37).
And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.
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,
46. daily … in the temple—observing the hours of Jewish worship.
and breaking bread from house to house—rather, "at home" (Margin), that is, in private, as contrasted with their temple-worship, but in some stated place or places of meeting.
eat their meat with gladness—"exultation."
and singleness of heart.
Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.
47. Praising God—"Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart, for God now accepteth thy works" (Ec 9:7, also see on Ac 8:39).
having favour with all the people—commending themselves by their lovely demeanor to the admiration of all who observed them.
And the Lord—that is, Jesus, as the glorified Head and Ruler of the Church.
added—kept adding; that is, to the visible community of believers, though the words "to the Church" are wanting in the most ancient manuscripts.
such as should be saved—rather, "the saved," or "those who were being saved." "The young Church had but few peculiarities in its outward form, or even in its doctrine: the single discriminating principle of its few members was that they all recognized the crucified Jesus of Nazareth as the Messiah. This confession would have been a thing of no importance, if it had only presented itself as a naked declaration, and would never in such a case have been able to form a community that would spread itself over the whole Roman empire. It acquired its value only through the power of the Holy Ghost, passing from the apostles as they preached to the hearers; for He brought the confession from the very hearts of men (1Co 12:3), and like a burning flame made their souls glow with love. By the power of this Spirit, therefore, we behold the first Christians not only in a state of active fellowship, but also internally changed: the narrow views of the natural man are broken through; they have their possessions in common, and they regard themselves as one family" [Olshausen].