Acts 2:3
Parallel Verses
New International Version
They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them.

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

Darby Bible Translation
And there appeared to them parted tongues, as of fire, and it sat upon each one of them.

World English Bible
Tongues like fire appeared and were distributed to them, and one sat on each of them.

Young's Literal Translation
and there appeared to them divided tongues, as it were of fire; it sat also upon each one of them,

Acts 2:3 Parallel
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible

Cloven tongues like as of fire - The tongues were the emblem of the languages they were to speak. The cloven tongues pointed out the diversity of those languages; and the fire seemed to intimate that the whole would be a spiritual gift, and be the means of bringing light and life to the souls who should hear them preach the everlasting Gospel in those languages.

Sat upon each of them - Scintillations, coruscations, or flashes of fire, were probably at first frequent through every part of the room where they were sitting; at last these flashes became defined, and a lambent flame, in the form of a cloven tongue, became stationary on the head of each disciple; a proof that the Spirit of God had made each his temple or residence. That unusual appearances of fire were considered emblems of the presence and influence of God, both the Scriptures and the Jewish writings amply prove. Thus God manifested himself to Moses, when he appointed him to deliver Israel, Exodus 3:2, Exodus 3:3; and thus he manifested himself when he delivered the law on Mount Sinai, Exodus 19:16-20. The Jews, in order to support the pretensions of their rabbins, as delivering their instructions by Divine authority and influence, represent them as being surrounded with fire while they were delivering their lectures; and that their words, in consequence, penetrated and exhilarated the souls of their disciples. Some of the Mohammedans represent Divine inspiration in the same way. In a fine copy of a Persian work, entitled Ajaceb al Makhlookat, or Wonders of Creation, now before me, where a marred account of Abraham's sacrifice, mentioned Genesis 15:9-17, is given, instead of the burning lamp passing between the divided pieces of the victim, Genesis 15:17, Abraham is represented standing between four fowls, the cock, the peacock, the duck, and the crow, with his head almost wrapped in a flame of lambent fire, as the emblem of the Divine communication made to him of the future prosperity of his descendants. The painting in which this is represented is most exquisitely finished. This notion of the manner in which Divine intimations were given was not peculiar to the Jews and Arabians; it exists in all countries; and the glories which appear round the heads of Chinese, Hindoo, and Christian saints, real or supposed, were simply intended to signify that they had especial intercourse with God, and that his Spirit, under the emblem of fire, sat upon them and became resident in them. There are numerous proofs of this in several Chinese and Hindoo paintings in my possession; and how frequently this is to be met with in legends, missals, and in the ancient ecclesiastical books of the different Christian nations of Europe, every reader acquainted with ecclesiastical antiquity knows well. See the dedication of Solomon's temple, 2 Chronicles 7:1-3.

The Greek and Roman heathens had similar notions of the manner in which Divine communications were given: strong wind, loud and repeated peals of thunder, coruscations of lightning, and lambent flames resting on those who were objects of the Deities regard, are all employed by them to point out the mode in which their gods were reported to make their will known to their votaries. Every thing of this kind was probably borrowed from the account given by Moses of the appearance on Mount Sinai; for traditions of this event were carried through almost every part of the habitable world, partly by the expelled Canaanites, partly by the Greek sages travelling through Asiatic countries in quest of philosophic truth: and partly by means of the Greek version of the Septuagint, made nearly three hundred years before the Christian era.

"A flame of fire seen upon the head of any person was, among the heathens, considered as an omen from their gods that the person was under the peculiar care of a supernatural power, and destined to some extraordinary employment. Many proofs of this occur in the Roman poets and historians. Wetstein, in his note on this place, has made an extensive collection of them. I shall quote but one, which almost every reader of the Aeneid of Virgil will recollect: -

Talia vociferans gemitu tectum omne replebat:

Cum subitum, dictuque oritur mirabile monstrum.

Namque manus inter, maestorumque ora parentum.

Ecce levis summo de vertice visus

Iuli Fundere lumen apex, tactuque innoxia molli

Lambere flamma comas, et circum tempora pasci.

Nos pavidi trepidare metu, crinemque flagrantem

Excutere, et sanctos restinguere fontibus ignes.

At pater Anchises oculos ad sidera laetus

Extulit, et coelo palamas cum voce tetendit:


Treasury of Scripture Knowledge


Acts 2:4,11 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance...

Genesis 11:6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do...

Psalm 55:9 Destroy, O Lord, and divide their tongues: for I have seen violence and strife in the city.

1 Corinthians 12:10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues...

Revelation 14:6 And I saw another angel fly in the middle of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth...


Isaiah 6:5 Then said I, Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the middle of a people of unclean lips...

Jeremiah 23:29 Is not my word like as a fire? said the LORD; and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?

Malachi 3:2,3 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appears? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap...

Matthew 3:11 I indeed baptize you with water to repentance. but he that comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear...

Luke 24:32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way...

James 3:6 And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defiles the whole body...

Revelation 11:3 And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and three score days, clothed in sackcloth.


Acts 1:15 And in those days Peter stood up in the middle of the disciples, and said...

Isaiah 11:2,3 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might...

Matthew 3:15 And Jesus answering said to him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becomes us to fulfill all righteousness. Then he suffered him.

John 1:32,33 And John bore record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it stayed on him...

November 25 Evening
Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall he saved.--ACTS 2:21. Manasseh did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, after the abominations of the heathen, and he reared up altars for Baal. And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord. And he made his son pass through the fire, and observed times, and used enchantments, and dealt with familiar spirits and wizards: he wrought much wickedness in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger.--And
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

Text: Acts 2, 1-13. 1 And when the day of Pentecost was now come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound as of the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared unto them tongues parting asunder, like as of fire; and it sat upon each one 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 Now there were dwelling at Jerusalem
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. II

Peter's First Sermon
'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
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture: The Acts

The Historical and Spiritual Causes of the Death of Christ
"Him, being by the determined will and foreknowledge of God given up, through the hand of lawless men, ye affixed to a cross and slew."--ACTS II. 23. St. Paul places this in the very forefront of that gospel which, as it had been delivered to him, so he in his turn had delivered to the Corinthians, that "Christ died for our sins." Neglecting all, deeper interpretations of this, it is at least clear that in the apostle's mind there was the closest and most intimate connexion between the death of
J. H. Beibitz—Gloria Crucis

Cross References
Matthew 3:11
"I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.

Acts 2:2
Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.

Acts 2:4
All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

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