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Acts Chapter Two


Acts 2

Chapter 2 relates the fulfilment of this promise, in answer to the spirit of dependence manifested in their united prayers.

The Spirit comes from above, in His own power, to possess and fill the dwelling-place prepared for Him.

This event, important beyond all others with respect to man's condition here below, has here a very simple character, because there is no question of the causes of this marvellous gift, of the work on which it depends, of the glory with which it is connected and which it reveals, and of which it is the earnest: we have here only the fact of its power. The disciples "were endued with power from on high."

The form of its appearance, however, is characteristic. On Jesus the Holy Ghost descended in the shape of a dove, because He was not to make His voice heard in the streets, nor break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax. But here it was the power of God in testimony, the word; which was like consuming fire, judging all that came before it. Nevertheless it was in grace, and was to go beyond the narrow limits of Jewish ordinances to proclaim the wonderful works of God to every tongue and nation under the sun. It was that mighty wind from heaven, which manifested itself to the disciples, and came upon them in the form of tongues of fire, each one divided into several. This marvel attracts the multitude; and the reality of this divine work is proved by the fact that persons from numerous countries hear these poor Galileans proclaim to them the wonderful works of God, each one in the language of the country whence he came up to Jerusalem. [1]

The Jews, who did not understand these languages, mock; and Peter declares to them in their own tongue, and according to their own prophecies, the true character of that which had taken place. He takes his stand upon the resurrection of Christ, foretold by the prophet-king, and upon His exaltation by the right hand of God. This Jesus, whom they had crucified, had there received the promise of the Father, and shed forth that which produced the effects that they heard and saw. They were therefore to know assuredly, that God had made that same Jesus whom they had rejected both Lord and Christ.

The character of this testimony will be remarked here. It is essentially that of Peter. It goes no farther than the affirmation of the fact, that He who had been rejected by the Jews is made in heaven Lord and Christ. It begins with Jesus known of the Jews on earth, and establishes the truth of His being raised again, and exalted to the position of Lord. God has done this. The apostle does not even proclaim Him as the Son of God. We shall see that, if it is not done by Peter in the Acts, Paul on the contrary does it from the first moment of his conversion. Peter states the result at that moment in power, and does not speak of the kingdom. He only reminds them that the Spirit was promised in the last days, and alludes to the terrible day of the coming judgment, which would be preceded by alarming signs and wonders. Without speaking of the fulfilment of the promise of the kingdom, the time of which the Father had kept secret, he puts the fact of the gift of the Holy Ghost in connection with the responsibility of Israel, to whom God still acted in grace, by preaching to them a glorified Christ, and by giving them proofs of His glory in the gift of the Holy Ghost, made sensible to all. This is the presence of the Holy Ghost according to John 15:26, 27. The testimony as a whole, however, is founded on and carries out the mission of Luke 24. Only in Luke we have nothing of baptism. See Luke 24:47-49, to which this fully corresponds. The testimony was addressed to the Jews; nevertheless it was not confined to them, [2] and it was separative. "Separate yourselves from this untoward generation." This separation was founded on a real and moral work-"repent": the past was all to be judged, and publicly demonstrated by their reception amongst Christians by baptism, in order to receive the remission of their sins, and participate in this heavenly gift of the Holy Ghost. "Repent, and be baptised 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." This work is individual. There was judgment on all the past, the admission amongst them by baptism, and the consequent participation in the Holy Ghost, who dwelt where they came. We see at once the difference between the moral change already wrought, the repentance which their godly sorrow works, and the reception of the Holy Ghost. This was consequent on the remission of their sins to which they were brought. This gift depended in a regular way on their admission amongst Christians, the house where He dwelt, built in the name of Jesus. Afterwards the promise is declared to belong to them and to their children-to the house of Israel as such-to them and to their children after them. But it went beyond the limits of God's ancient people. The promise was also to those that were afar off; for it was fulfilled, in connection with faith in Christ, to all who through grace should come into the new house-all whom the Lord, the God of Israel, should call. The call of God characterised the blessing. Israel, with her children, was owned, but a remnant called out from among them. The Gentiles, being called, shared the blessing.

The result of this ineffable gift is related to us. It was not merely a moral change, but a power which set aside all the motives that individualised those who had received it, by uniting them as one soul and in one mind. They continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine; they were in communion with each other and the apostles; they broke bread; they spent their time in prayer. The sense of God's presence was powerful among them; and many signs and wonders were wrought by the hands of the apostles. They were united in the closest bonds; no man called anything his own, but all divided their possessions with those that needed. They were daily in the temple, the public resort of Israel for religious exercises, whilst having their own apart-breaking bread at home daily. They ate with joy and gladness of heart, praising God, and having favour with all the people around them.

Thus the assembly was formed; and the Lord added to it daily the remnant of Israel, who were to be saved from the judgments that should fall on a nation which had rejected the Son of God, their Messiah; and, thank God, from yet deeper ruin. God brought into the assembly-thus owned of Him by the presence of the Holy Ghost-those whom He spared in Israel. [3] A new order of things had commenced, marked by the presence of the Holy Ghost. [4] Here was found the presence and the house of God, although the old order of things still existed until the execution of judgment upon it.

The assembly was formed therefore by the power of the Holy Ghost come down from heaven, on the testimony that Jesus, who had been rejected, was raised up to heaven, being made of God both Lord and Christ. It was composed of the Jewish remnant who were to be spared, with the reserve of bringing in Gentiles whenever God should call them. It was as yet formed in connection with Israel in the patience of God, yet apart in power, God's dwelling place.


[1] The rationalistic notion that it was a kind of excited gibberish, just as the unbelieving Jews thought, is absurd beyond conception. Think of Paul's thanking God that he spoke more kinds of gibberish than they all, and God giving a gift for interpreting gibberish!

[2] The testimony is in terms which, applying to Jews there and scattered abroad, yet opened the door to the Gentiles in the sovereignty of God-"all that are afar off, as many as the Lord our God shall call." God is still the God of man; but He calls whom He pleases.

[3] This is the force of ('soozomenos') "those that were to be saved," v. 47.

[4] God never dwelt with man but on the ground of redemption, not with Adam nor Abraham. Compare Exodus 29:46.

── John DarbySynopsis of Acts


Acts 2

Chapter Contents

The descent of the Holy Spirit at the day of Pentecost. (1-4) The apostles speak in divers languages. (5-13) Peter's address to the Jews. (14-36) Three thousand souls converted. (37-41) The piety and affection of the disciples. (42-47)

Commentary on Acts 2:1-4

(Read Acts 2:1-4)

We cannot forget how often, while their Master was with them there were strifes among the disciples which should be the greatest; but now all these strifes were at an end. They had prayed more together of late. Would we have the Spirit poured out upon us from on high, let us be all of one accord. And notwithstanding differences of sentiments and interests, as there were among those disciples, let us agree to love one another; for where brethren dwell together in unity, there the Lord commands his blessing. A rushing mighty wind came with great force. This was to signify the powerful influences and working of the Spirit of God upon the minds of men, and thereby upon the world. Thus the convictions of the Spirit make way for his comforts; and the rough blasts of that blessed wind, prepare the soul for its soft and gentle gales. There was an appearance of something like flaming fire, lighting on every one of them, according to John Baptist's saying concerning Christ; He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire. The Spirit, like fire, melts the heart, burns up the dross, and kindles pious and devout affections in the soul; in which, as in the fire on the altar, the spiritual sacrifices are offered up. They were all filled with the Holy Ghost, more than before. They were filled with the graces of the Spirit, and more than ever under his sanctifying influences; more weaned from this world, and better acquainted with the other. They were more filled with the comforts of the Spirit, rejoiced more than ever in the love of Christ and the hope of heaven: in it all their griefs and fears were swallowed up. They were filled with the gifts of the Holy Ghost; they had miraculous powers for the furtherance of the gospel. They spake, not from previous though or meditation, but as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Commentary on Acts 2:5-13

(Read Acts 2:5-13)

The difference in languages which arose at Babel, has much hindered the spread of knowledge and religion. The instruments whom the Lord first employed in spreading the Christian religion, could have made no progress without this gift, which proved that their authority was from God.

Commentary on Acts 2:14-21

(Read Acts 2:14-21)

Peter's sermon shows that he was thoroughly recovered from his fall, and thoroughly restored to the Divine favour; for he who had denied Christ, now boldly confessed him. His account of the miraculous pouring forth of the Spirit, was designed to awaken the hearers to embrace the faith of Christ, and to join themselves to his church. It was the fulfilling the Scripture, and the fruit of Christ's resurrection and ascension, and proof of both. Though Peter was filled with the Holy Ghost, and spake with tongues as the Spirit gave him utterance, yet he did not think to set aside the Scriptures. Christ's scholars never learn above their Bible; and the Spirit is given, not to do away the Scriptures, but to enable us to understand, approve, and obey them. Assuredly none will escape the condemnation of the great day, except those who call upon the name of the Lord, in and through his Son Jesus Christ, as the Saviour of sinners, and the Judge of all mankind.

Commentary on Acts 2:22-36

(Read Acts 2:22-36)

From this gift of the Holy Ghost, Peter preaches unto them Jesus: and here is the history of Christ. Here is an account of his death and sufferings, which they witnessed but a few weeks before. His death is considered as God's act; and of wonderful grace and wisdom. Thus Divine justice must be satisfied, God and man brought together again, and Christ himself glorified, according to an eternal counsel, which could not be altered. And as the people's act; in them it was an act of awful sin and folly. Christ's resurrection did away the reproach of his death; Peter speaks largely upon this. Christ was God's Holy One, sanctified and set apart to his service in the work of redemption. His death and sufferings should be, not to him only, but to all his, the entrance to a blessed life for evermore. This event had taken place as foretold, and the apostles were witnesses. Nor did the resurrection rest upon this alone; Christ had poured upon his disciples the miraculous gifts and Divine influences, of which they witnessed the effects. Through the Saviour, the ways of life are made known; and we are encouraged to expect God's presence, and his favour for evermore. All this springs from assured belief that Jesus is the Lord, and the anointed Saviour.

Commentary on Acts 2:37-41

(Read Acts 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.

Commentary on Acts 2:42-47

(Read Acts 2:42-47)

In these verses we have the history of the truly primitive church, of the first days of it; its state of infancy indeed, but, like that, the state of its greatest innocence. They kept close to holy ordinances, and abounded in piety and devotion; for Christianity, when admitted in the power of it, will dispose the soul to communion with God in all those ways wherein he has appointed us to meet him, and has promised to meet us. The greatness of the event raised them above the world, and the Holy Ghost filled them with such love, as made every one to be to another as to himself, and so made all things common, not by destroying property, but doing away selfishness, and causing charity. And God who moved them to it, knew that they were quickly to be driven from their possessions in Judea. The Lord, from day to day, inclined the hearts of more to embrace the gospel; not merely professors, but such as were actually brought into a state of acceptance with God, being made partakers of regenerating grace. Those whom God has designed for eternal salvation, shall be effectually brought to Christ, till the earth is filled with the knowledge of his glory.

── Matthew HenryConcise Commentary on Acts


Acts 2

Verse 2

[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.

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven — So will the Son of man come to judgment.

And it filled all the house — That is, all that part of the temple where they were sitting.

Verse 3

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

And there appeared distinct tongues, as of fire — That is, small flames of fire. This is all which the phrase, tongues of fire, means in the language of the seventy. Yet it might intimate God's touching their tongues as it were (together with their hearts) with Divine fire: his giving them such words as were active and penetrating, even as flaming fire.

Verse 4

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

And they began to speak with other tongues — The miracle was not in the ears of the hearers, (as some have unaccountably supposed,) but in the mouth of the speakers. And this family praising God together, with the tongues of all the world, was an earnest that the whole world should in due time praise God in their various tongues.

As the Spirit gave them utterance — Moses, the type of the law, was of a slow tongue; but the Gospel speaks with a fiery and flaming one.

Verse 5

[5] And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews — Gathered from all parts by the peculiar providence of God.

Verse 6

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

The multitude came together, and were confounded — The motions of their minds were swift and various.

Verse 9

[9] Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,

Judea — The dialect of which greatly differed from that of Galilee.

Asia — The country strictly so called.

Verse 10

[10] Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,

Roman sojourners — Born at Rome, but now living at Jerusalem. These seem to have come to Jerusalem after those who are above mentioned. All of them were partly Jews by birth, and partly proselytes.

Verse 11

[11] Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

Cretans — One island seems to be mentioned for all.

The wonderful works of God — Probably those which related to the miracles, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, together with the effusion of his Spirit, as a fulfilment of his promises, and the glorious dispensations of Gospel grace.

Verse 12

[12] And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?

They were all amazed — All the devout men.

Verse 13

[13] Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

But others mocking — The world begins with mocking, thence proceeds to cavilling, Acts 4:7; to threats, 4:17; to imprisoning, Acts 5:18; blows, 5:40; to slaughter, Acts 7:58. These mockers appear to have been some of the natives of Judea, and inhabitants of Jerusalem, (who understood only the dialect of the country,) by the apostle's immediately directing his discourse to them in the next verse.

They are full of sweet wine — So the Greek word properly signifies. There was no new wine so early in the year as pentecost. Thus natural men are wont to ascribe supernatural things to mere natural causes; and many times as impudently and unskilfully as in the present case.

Verse 14

[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:

Then Peter standing up — All the gestures, all the words of Peter, show the utmost sobriety; lifted up his voice - With cheerfulness and boldness; and said to them - This discourse has three parts; each of which, Acts 2:14,22,29, begins with the same appellation, men: only to the last part he prefixes with more familiarity the additional word brethren.

Men of Judea — That is, ye that are born in Judea. St. Peter spoke in Hebrew, which they all understood.

Verse 15

[15] For these are not drunken, as ye suppose, seeing it is but the third hour of the day.

It is but the third hour of the day — That is, nine in the morning. And on the solemn festivals the Jews rarely ate or drank any thing till noon.

Verse 16

[16] But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;

But this is that which was spoken of by the prophet — But there is another and better way of accounting for this. Joel 2:28

Verse 17

[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:

The times of the Messiah are frequently called the last days, the Gospel being the last dispensation of Divine grace.

I will pour out of my Spirit — Not on the day of pentecost only, upon all flesh - On persons of every age, sex, and rank.

And your young men shall see visions — In young men the outward sense, are most vigorous, and the bodily strength is entire, whereby they are best qualified to sustain the shock which usually attends the visions of God. In old men the internal senses are most vigorous, suited to divine dreams. Not that the old are wholly excluded from the former, nor the young from the latter.

Verse 18

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

And upon my servants — On those who are literally in a state of servitude.

Verse 19

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

And I will show prodigies in heaven above, and signs on earth beneath — Great revelations of grace are usually attended with great judgments on those who reject it.

In heaven — Treated of, Acts 2:20.

On earth — Described in this verse. Such signs were those mentioned, Acts 2:22, before the passion of Christ; which are so mentioned as to include also those at the very time of the passion and resurrection, at the destruction of Jerusalem, and at the end of the world. Terrible indeed were those prodigies in particular which preceded the destruction of Jerusalem: such as the flaming sword hanging over the city, and the fiery comet pointing down upon it for a year; the light that shone upon the temple and the altar in the night, as if it had been noon-day; the opening of the great and heavy gate of the temple without hands; the voice heard from the most holy place, Let us depart hence; the admonition of Jesus the son of Ananus, crying for seven years together, Wo, wo, wo; the vision of contending armies in the air, and of entrenchments thrown up against a city there represented; the terrible thunders and lightnings, and dreadful earthquakes, which every one considered as portending some great evil: all which, through the singular providence of God, are particularly recorded by Josephus.

Blood — War and slaughter.

Fire — Burnings of houses and towns, involving all in clouds of smoke.

Verse 20

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

The moon shall be turned into blood — A bloody colour: before the day of the Lord - Eminently the last day; though not excluding any other day or season, wherein the Lord shall manifest his glory, in taking vengeance of his adversaries.

Verse 21

[21] And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

But — whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord - This expression implies the whole of religion, and particularly prayer uttered in faith; shall be saved - From all those plagues; from sin and hell.

Verse 23

[23] Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God — The apostle here anticipates an objection, Why did God suffer such a person to be so treated? Did he not know what wicked men intended to do? And had he not power to prevent it? Yea. He knew all that those wicked men intended to do. And he had power to blast all their designs in a moment. But he did not exert that power, because he so loved the world! Because it was the determined counsel of his love, to redeem mankind from eternal death, by the death of his only-begotten Son.

Verse 24

[24] Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

Having loosed the pains of death — The word properly means, the pains of a woman in travail.

As it was not possible that he should be held under it — Because the Scripture must needs be fulfilled.

Verse 25

[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:

Psalms 16:8.

Verse 27

[27] Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

Thou wilt not leave my soul in hades — The invisible world. But it does not appear, that ever our Lord went into hell. His soul, when it was separated from the body, did not go thither, but to paradise, Luke 23:43. The meaning is, Thou wilt not leave my soul in its separate state, nor suffer my body to be corrupted.

Verse 28

[28] Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.

Thou hast made known to me the ways of life — That is, Thou hast raised me from the dead.

Thou wilt fill me with joy by thy countenance — When I ascend to thy right hand.

Verse 29

[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.

The patriarch — A more honourable title than king.

Verse 30

[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;

Psalms 89:4, etc.

Verse 32

[32] This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.

He foreseeing this, spake of the resurrection Of Christ — St. Peter argues thus: It is plain, David did not speak this of himself. Therefore he spake of Christ's rising. But how does that promise of a kingdom imply his resurrection? Because he did not receive it before he died, and because his kingdom was to endure for ever, 2 Samuel 7:13.

Verse 33

[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.

Being exalted by the right hand of God — By the right hand; that is, the mighty power of God. Our Lord was exalted at his ascension to God's right hand in heaven.

Verse 34

[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,

Sit thou on my right hand — In this and the following verse is an allusion to two ancient customs; one, to the highest honour that used to be paid to persons by placing them on the right hand, as Solomon did Bathsheba, when sitting on his throne, 1 Kings 2:19; and the other, to the custom of conquerors, who used to tread on the necks of their vanquished enemies, as a token of their entire victory and triumph over them.

Verse 35

[35] Until I make thy foes thy footstool.

Until I make thine enemies thy footstool — This text is here quoted with the greatest address, as suggesting in the words of David, their great prophetic monarch, how certain their own ruin must be, if they went on to oppose Christ. Psalms 110:1.

Verse 36

[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.

Lord — Jesus, after his exaltation, is constantly meant by this word in the New Testament, unless sometimes where it occurs, in a text quoted from the Old Testament.

Verse 37

[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?

They said to the apostles, Brethren — They did not style them so before.

Verse 38

[38] Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Repent — And hereby return to God: be baptized - Believing in the name of Jesus - And ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost - See the three-one God clearly proved. See Acts 26:20. The gift of the Holy Ghost does not mean in this place the power of speaking with tongues. For the promise of this was not given to all that were afar off, in distant ages and nations. But rather the constant fruits of faith, even righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.

Whomsoever the Lord our God shall call — (Whether they are Jews or Gentiles) by his word and by his Spirit: and who are not disobedient to the heavenly calling. But it is observable St. Peter did not yet understand the very words he spoke.

Verse 40

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

And with many other words did he testify and exhort — In such an accepted time we should add line upon line, and not leave off, till the thing is done.

Save yourselves from this perverse generation — Many of whom were probably mocking still.

Verse 41

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

And there were added — To the hundred and twenty.

Verse 42

[42] And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

And they continued steadfast — So their daily Church communion consisted in these four particulars: 1. Hearing the word; 2. Having all things common; 3. Receiving the Lord's Supper; 4. Prayer. Ye diff'rent sects, who all declare, Lo here is Christ, and Christ is there; Your stronger proofs divinely give, And show me where the Christians live!

Verse 43

[43] And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.

And fear came upon every soul — Of those who did not join with them: whereby persecution was prevented, till it was needful for them.

Verse 45

[45] And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.

And sold their possessions — Their lands and houses; and goods - Their movables.

And parted them to all as any one had need — To say the Christians did this only till the destruction of Jerusalem, is not true; for many did it long after. Not that there was any positive command for so doing: it needed not; for love constrained them. It was a natural fruit of that love wherewith each member of the community loved every other as his own soul. And if the whole Christian Church had continued in this spirit, this usage must have continued through all ages. To affirm therefore that Christ did not design it should continue, is neither more nor less than to affirm, that Christ did not design this measure of love should continue. I see no proof of this.

Verse 46

[46] And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,

Continuing daily — breaking the bread - in the Lord's Supper, as did many Churches for some ages.

They partook of their food with gladness and singleness of heart — They carried the same happy and holy temper through all their common actions: eating and working with the same spirit wherewith they prayed and received the Lord's Supper.

Verse 47

[47] Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.

The Lord added daily such as were saved — From their sins: from the guilt and power of them.

── John WesleyExplanatory Notes on Acts


Chapter 2. The Holy Spirit Comes

Everything in Common
Give to the Needy

I. Together in One Place

  1. A Sound from Heaven
  2. Speak in Different Native Languages
  3. Take Too Much Wine

II. Peter's First Message

  1. Prophecy of Joel
  2. Jesus is the Lord
  3. Three Thousand Were Added

III. Life in the Early Church

  1. Devoted to the Apostles' Teachings
  2. Devoted to Fellowship
  3. Devoted to the Breaking of Bread and Prayer
── Chih-Hsin ChangAn Outline of The New Testament
Chapter Two General Review
1) To carefully consider the events surrounding the outpouring of the
   Spirit on the day of Pentecost
2) To examine Peter's first gospel sermon, and the evidence presented in
   it for the resurrection of Jesus Christ
3) To observe the response to the sermon, and what people were told to
   do in order to be saved
4) To note the establishment and characteristics of the church in
Ten days after Jesus ascended to heaven, on the Jewish feast day of
Pentecost, the Holy Spirit is poured out as promised.  With the sound of
a rushing mighty wind, and with tongues of fire appearing above their
heads, those filled with the Holy Spirit begin to speak in other tongues
(1-4).  Devout Jews visiting from other countries are attracted and
amazed as they hear wonderful works of God proclaimed in their own
languages (5-13).
Peter, standing with the rest of the apostles, explains that what has
happened is a fulfillment of Joel's prophecy (Joel 2:28-32), who
foretold that God would pour out His Spirit in the last days (14-21).
He then preaches Jesus of Nazareth to the crowd, reminding them of His
miracles, their involvement in His death, and proclaiming that God
raised Him from the dead.  As proof for the resurrection, Peter offers
three lines of evidence:  1) the prophecy by David, who foretold of the
resurrection (Psa 16:8-11);  2) the twelve apostles as witnesses;  3)
the Spirit's outpouring itself , indicative of Christ's exaltation and
reception of the promise of the Spirit from the Father.  In conclusion,
Peter pronounces that God has made Jesus, whom they crucified, both Lord
and Christ (22-36).
Cut to the heart, the people ask the apostles what they should do.
Peter commands them to repent and be baptized for the remission of sins
and gift of the Holy Spirit.  With many other words he exhorts them to
be saved, and about 3000 souls gladly receive his word and are baptized
Thus begins the church in Jerusalem, which continues steadfastly in the
apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and prayers.
Signs and wonders are done by the apostles, while the believers display
their love and devotion through acts of benevolence and frequent
worship.  They enjoy the favor of the people, and the Lord adds to the
church daily those being saved (42-47).
      1. A Jewish holiday, also known as the Feast of Weeks and Feast of
         Harvest, one of three great annual festivals (cf. Lev 23:15-22;
         Exo 23:14-18; 34:22)
      2. Fifty days after the Passover Sabbath, i.e., Sunday
      3. They, most likely the apostles (cf. Ac 1:11,26; 2:7,14), were
         gathered in one place
      1. A sound from heaven
         a. As of a rushing mighty wind
         b. Filling the house where they were sitting
      2. Divided tongues
         a. As of fire
         b. One upon each one of them
      1. Speaking with other tongues (known languages, cf. Ac 2:8,11)
      2. As the Spirit gave them utterance
      1. The crowd made up of devout Jews visiting from other nations
      2. The effect of what they heard
         a. Drew the multitude together
         b. Confused them, for everyone heard them speaking in their own
         c. Amazed and marveled them, for those speaking were Galileans
         d. Yet were hearing languages of the countries of their birth
            1) Parthians, Medes, Elamites, dwellers in Mesopotamia
            2) Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia
            3) Egypt, Libya, Cyrene, Rome
            4) Both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs
      3. Hearing in their languages the wonderful works of God
   B. TWO RESPONSES (12-13)
      1. One of serious questioning:  "Whatever could this mean?"
      2. One of mockery:  "They are full of new wine."
      1. Standing up with the eleven, Peter addresses the crowd
      2. It was too early in the day ("third hour", i.e., 9 a.m.) for
         them to be drunk
      1. The events were those prophesied by Joel (cf. Joel 2:28-32)
      2. Which foretold of the outpouring of the Spirit
         a. In the last days on all flesh
         b. Leading sons and daughters to prophesy, young men to see
            visions, and old men to dream dreams
         c. With signs and wonders in heaven above and earth beneath
            before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord
         d. With salvation to those who call upon the name of the Lord
      1. Jesus, a man attested to by miracles, signs and wonders
         a. Done by God in their midst
         b. Which they themselves knew
      2. Jesus, crucified and put to death
         a. According to the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God
         b. Which they did by lawless hands (via the Romans)
      3. Jesus, whom God raised from the dead
         a. Having loosed the pains of death
         b. For it was not possible that He should be held by it
      1. The testimony of David
         a. For David prophesied of Jesus (cf. Psa 16:8-11)
         b. David could not be speaking of himself
            1) For he was dead and buried
            2) With his tomb for all to see
         c. But spoke as a prophet
            1) He knew that God had sworn with an oath that one of his
               descendants would be raised to sit on his throne
            2) He therefore spoke of the resurrection of Christ, whose
               soul was not left in Hades nor did His flesh see
      2. The testimony of the apostles
         a. They were witnesses
         b. That God raised Jesus
      3. The testimony of the Spirit's outpouring
         a. Jesus poured forth what they saw and heard
            1) Having been exalted to the right hand of God
            2) Having received from the Father the promise of the Holy
         b. For David did not ascend into the heavens, but prophesied of
            the Lord (Psa 110:1)
            1) Who would sit at God's right hand
            2) Until His enemies became His footstool (cf. 1 Co 15:
      1. All the house of Israel were to "know assuredly" (i.e., believe
         with all their hearts)
      2. That God made Jesus, whom they crucified, both Lord and Christ
      1. They were cut to the heart
      2. They said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and
         brethren, what shall we do?"
   B. THE REPLY BY PETER (38-39)
      1. Two commands
         a. Repent
         b. Let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ
      2. Two promises
         a. For the remissions of sins
         b. You shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit
      3. The extent of the promise
         a. To them and their children
         b. To all who afar off, as many as the Lord will call
      1. After Peter with many other words testified and exhorted them:
         "Be saved from this perverse generation"
      2. Those who gladly receive his word were baptized
      3. That day about 3000 were added (cf. Ac 2:47)
      1. They continued steadfastly in:
         a. The apostles' doctrine and fellowship
         b. The breaking of bread and prayers
      2. Fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done
         through the apostles
      1. Those who believed were together and had all things in common
         a. Those with possessions and goods sold them
         b. Dividing them among all according to their need
      2. They continued daily with one accord in the temple
      3. Breaking bread from house to house, eating with gladness and
         simplicity of heart
      4. Praising God and having favor with all the people
      5. The Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved
1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The outpouring of the Spirit (1-4)
   - The reaction of the crowd (5-13)
   - The explanation by Peter (14-21)
   - The sermon by Peter (22-36)
   - The conversion of 3000 souls (37-41)
   - The beginning of the church (42-47)
2) What day had arrived?  Who was gathered in one place? (1)
   - The Day of Pentecost; "they" (most likely the apostles, cf. Ac
     1:26; 2:7,14)
3) What audible and visible signs were evidence of the Spirit's
   outpouring? (2-3)
   - The sound of a mighty rushing wind filling the house where they
     were sitting
   - Divided tongues, as of fire, one sitting upon each of them
4) What did those filled with Spirit begin to do? (4)
   - To speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance
5) Who was present in Jerusalem at that time? (5)
   - Devout Jews from every nation
6) What indicates that the "tongues" were known languages of men? (6,11)
   - Everyone heard them speak in his own language
   - The people said, "We hear them speaking in our own tongues..."
7) What evidence is that those speaking were only the apostles? (7)
   - Those speaking were Galileans (which was true of the apostles,
     whereas many disciples were from other regions besides Galilee)
8) What was the reaction of those who heard? (7,12-13)
   - They were amazed and marveled, they were perplexed, some even
9) How did Peter and the eleven discount the charge that they were
   drunk? (14-15)
   - It was only the third hour of the day (9 a.m.)
10) To what does Peter attribute the events of that day? (16)
   - That which was spoken by the prophet Joel
11) When would the events described by Joel occur? (17)
   - In the last days
12) Upon whom would the Spirit be poured out? (17,18)
   - All flesh
   - God's menservants and maidservants
13) What did Joel prophesy would be some of the effects of the Spirit's
    outpouring? (17-18)
   - Sons and daughters shall prophesy (cf. Ac 21:8-9)
   - Young men shall see visions and old men shall dream dreams
   - God's menservants and maidservants shall prophesy (cf. 1 Co 11:5)
14) What other events were foretold by Joel?  When would they occur?
   - Wonders in heaven and signs in the earth
   - The sun turned into darkness, and the moon into blood
   - Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord
15) What reassuring promise was made by Joel? (21)
   - Whoever calls upon the name of the LORD shall be saved
16) How was Jesus attested to by God? (22)
   - By miracles, wonders, and signs which He did through Him
17) Could the audience deny that Jesus did these signs? (22)
   - No, for they were done in their midst and they were aware of them
18) Though crucified by lawless hands, according to what was Jesus'
    death? (23)
   - God's predetermined purpose and foreknowledge
19) What is the main proposition of Peter's sermon? (24)
   - God raised Jesus from the dead
20) What first line of evidence did Peter present to prove his
    proposition? (25-31)
   - The prophecy of David concerning the resurrection of the Christ
21) How was Peter able to prove that David did not speak of himself?
   - David was dead and buried, the tomb was still there
   - David did not ascend into the heavens
22) What two prophecies of David did Peter reference? (25-29,34-35)
   - Psalms 16:8-11; 110:1
23) What second line of evidence did Peter present to prove his
    proposition? (32)
   - The apostles were witnesses of the resurrection
24) What third line of evidence did Peter present to prove his
    proposition? (33-33)
   - The outpouring of the Spirit, indicative of being exalted to the
     right hand of God and having received from the Father the promise
     of the Holy Spirit
25) What did Peter want his audience to know assuredly? (36)
   - That God has made Jesus, whom they crucified, both Lord and Christ
26) How did this impact the audience?  What did they ask? (37)
   - They were cut to the heart; "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
27) What two commands did Peter give them? (38)
   - Repent and be baptized
28) What two promises did Peter offer them? (38)
   - Remission of sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit
29) To whom was the promise offered? (39)
   - To them and their children, and to all who are afar off, as many as
     God would call
30) What else did Peter say? (40)
   - With many words he testified, and exhorted them, "Be saved from
     this perverse generation"
31) What did those who gladly received his word do?  How many? (41)
   - They were baptized; about 3000
32) What did those who were baptized then do? (42)
   - Continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in
     the breaking of bread and in prayers
33) Who were doing many wonders and signs? (43)
   - The apostles
34) What did those who believe do with their possessions? (44-45)
   - Sold them and shared with one another as anyone had need
35) What did the disciples do during those first days of the early
    church in Jerusalem? (46-47)
   - Continued daily in the temple with one accord
   - Breaking bread from house to house, eating with gladness and
     simplicity of heart
   - Praising God and having favor with all the people
36) What did the Lord do during those days? (47)
               - Added to the church daily those who were being saved


The 3000 On Pentecost (2:1-41)
1. The Book of Acts serves a unique role in the New Testament and the 
   history of the church...
   a. It picks up where the gospels leave off, and provides a backdrop 
      for the epistles
   b. It details the spread of the gospel, and expansion of the Lord's 
   c. It is the only record, inspired or otherwise, of the first thirty
      years of the church
2. Included in the historical record of Acts are many examples of 
   a. In which we find the apostles and other preachers leading people
      to Christ
   b. In some cases we can read the very sermons used to proclaim the
   c. We also have descriptions of what people were told to receive 
      God's saving grace
3. The value of such examples of conversion cannot be overstated...
   a. For today we can hear or see many different "gospels" being 
   b. Even when the gospel facts are faithfully proclaimed, sometimes 
      people are told to respond in a manner not found in the New 
   -- With the help of The Book of Acts, we can make sure that the
      gospel facts and commands are faithfully proclaimed!
4. In this series, we shall examine several examples of conversions as
   described in Acts...
   a. Noting the background of each conversion
   b. Considering the sermons proclaimed and the responses to them
   c. Analyzing the sermons and responses, seeking to glean the 
      elements of the gospel message and what response to expect of 
      those coming to Christ
[In this study, we start with the first example of conversion, "The 
3000 On Pentecost", as recorded in Acts 2.  As we begin, let's do so
      1. An annual Jewish feast, celebrated 50 days after the 
         presentation of the firstfruits
      2. One in which Jews would travel great distances to attend - Ac
      1. As promised by John and Jesus - Ac 1:4-5; cf. Lk 24:49
      2. Accompanied by audible and visual signs...
         a. A sound as of a mighty rushing wind - Ac 2:2
         b. Divided tongues as of fire sitting upon each of them - Ac 
      3. Enabling the apostles to speak in foreign languages - Ac 2:
         a. Every man heard them speak in his own language - Ac 2:6,11
         b. That those who spoke were "Galileans" (Ac 2:7), suggesting
            the apostles
            1) For the apostles were from Galilee
            2) Whereas the 120 disciples were from all over Palestine
      4. The reaction of the crowd was mixed - Ac 2:12-13
         a. Some were amazed and perplexed
         b. Others mocked, accusing the apostles of being drunk
      1. It was too early for them to be drunk - Ac 2:14-15
      2. Rather, it was a fulfillment of Joel's prophecy - Ac 2:16-21
         a. Found in Joel 2:28-32
         b. In which God promised to pour out of His Spirit on all 
[So we find a large gathering of religious people initially drawn by 
the miraculous events which occurred this day in Jerusalem.  Having 
explained the meaning of the events, Peter immediately proceeded with
the first recorded gospel sermon...]
      1. Peter began with the life and miracles of Jesus, with which
         his audience was well acquainted - Ac 2:22
      2. He laid the blame of Jesus' death at their feet, but said it 
         was in keeping with God's predetermined plan - Ac 2:23
      3. He declared that God raised Jesus from the dead, and provided
         three lines of evidence - Ac 2:24-35
         a. The testimony of David - Ac 2:25-31
            1) Who prophesied of the resurrection of God's Anointed 
               - Psa 16:8-11
            2) Who could not have been speaking of himself, but of
            -- Thus, the testimony of Scripture
         b. The testimony of the twelve apostles - Ac 2:32
            1) Who had to be eyewitnesses to qualify as apostles - cf. 
               Ac 1:21-26
            2) With twelve witnesses, the demands of Scripture were 
               overwhelmingly met ("by the mouth of two or three
               witnesses every word may be established.")
            -- Thus, the testimony of eyewitnesses
         c. The testimony of the Spirit's outpouring - Ac 3:33-35
            1) The outpouring of the Spirit was evidence of:
               a) Christ's exaltation to the right hand of God
               b) Christ receiving from the Father the promise of the 
            2) And so another prophecy of David was fulfilled - cf. Psa
            -- Thus, the testimony of the day's events
      4. Finally, Peter reached the climax of his sermon - Ac 2:36
         a. The Jesus they crucified, God had made...
            1) "Lord" (Ruler of all - cf. Mt 28:18)
            2) "Christ" (The Anointed One prophesied in Scripture)
         b. This fact they were to "know assuredly"
            1) To understand, to accept as fact
            2) To believe firmly
      1. The listeners were convicted - Ac 2:37
         a. They were "cut to the heart"
         b. They asked "what shall we do?"
      2. Peter replied with commands and a promise - Ac 2:38-39
         a. The commands to repent and be baptized for the remission of
         b. The promise of the gift of the Holy Spirit, a promise for
            "as many as the Lord our God will call"
      3. Luke then summarized what followed...
         a. Peter continued to offer testimony and exhortation - Ac 2:
         b. Those who "gladly received his word were baptized" - Ac 2:
         c. 3000 souls were "added" (later, we learn it was the Lord 
            who was adding them to His church - cf. Ac 2:47)
[With this response to Peter's sermon, the Lord's church began in 
Jerusalem (cf. Ac 2:42). It was an amazing day, in which 3000 souls 
responded to the gospel of Christ. What can be gleaned from this 
example of conversion?]
      1. Peter's focus was on the Word, not the signs and wonders
         a. His explanation of the miraculous was no more than a 
            quotation from Joel
         b. Having explained the miraculous, he directed their 
            attention to Jesus
      2. Peter's theme was the resurrection and exaltation of Jesus
         a. His life and death they knew
         b. It was His resurrection and exaltation to God's right hand
            that he sought to prove
      3. His main objective:  for them to accept Jesus as their Lord
         and Messiah (Christ)
      1. The reaction of the people is noteworthy: "cut to the heart"
         a. This shows the power of God's word to convict - cf. Ro 1:16
         b. While convicted, not all people will respond in the same
            way - cf. Ac 7:54
      2. The reply to their question ("what shall we do?") is also
         a. Peter commanded them to "repent", which was what Jesus 
            expected Him to say - cf. Lk 24:46-47
         b. Peter commanded them to "be baptized", which was also in 
            keeping with what Jesus commanded the apostles - Mt 28:19;
            Mk 16:15-16
      3. The purpose of their baptism was explained: "for the remission
         of sins"
         a. The identical phrase was used by Jesus in Mt 26:28
         b. His blood was shed for many "for the remission of sins"
         c. In both cases, the preposition "for" means "with a view 
            toward, in order to"
            1) Jesus shed His blood in order to provide remission of 
            2) One is baptized in order to receive remission of sins
               (for in baptism we are baptized into Christ's death 
               - cf. Ro 6:3-6)
      4. Those who are baptized were promised "the gift of the Spirit"
         a. I take the gift to be the Spirit Himself - cf. Ac 5:32
            1) Not something the Spirit gives (such as salvation or 
               spiritual gifts)
            2) All who become Christians receive the Spirit - Ga 4:6;
               1 Co 12:13
         b. The Spirit is therefore "the promise" referred to in verse
            1) Who was promised by the Father and received by Christ 
               - Ac 2:33
            2) Who was poured out by Christ on the day of Pentecost 
               - Ac 2:33
            3) Thus poured out, one can now receive the "washing of
               regeneration and renewal of the Spirit" in baptism,
               resulting in justification - cf. Ti 3:5-7
      5. Those who were baptized were "added" to the church - Ac 2:41,
         a. When one is baptized (i.e., saved), the Lord adds him or
            her to His church, which is His body - cf. 1 Co 12:13
         b. Baptism is therefore the "door" to the church (in the
            universal, not local) sense
      1. When preaching the gospel...
         a. Our focus should be on death, burial, resurrection and 
            exaltation of Jesus Christ - e.g., 1 Co 2:1-2; 15:1-4
         b. The evidence we offer as support should be:
            1) The testimony of Scripture (e.g., the Old Testament 
            2) The testimony of the eyewitnesses (i.e., the apostles)
         c. Our goal is for people to accept the Lordship of Jesus
            Christ, acknowledging Him to be the Messiah, God's Anointed
      2. When people are convicted of sin, and ask "what shall we do?",
         we should reply:
         a. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (though not specifically
            mentioned, it is assumed in the call to "know assuredly") 
            - cf. Ac 16:30-31
         b. Repent of your sins - cf. Ac 17:30
         c. Be baptized for the remission of sins - cf. Ac 10:48; 22:16
      3. Along with remission of sins, we should tell of the promise of
         the Spirit
         a. The Spirit's role in the life of the Christian is important
            - 1 Co 6:11; Ro 8:13
         b. While the role of the Spirit is often misunderstood, we 
            should not hesitate to make mention of Him as a promise and
            gift to those who obey God! - Ac 5:32
1. With the first example of conversion, we find Peter faithfully
   carrying out the commission of his Lord...
   a. To preach the gospel - Mk 16:15
   b. To preach repentance and remission of sins in His name - Lk 24:47
   c. To include baptism along with faith as a proper response to the
      gospel - Mk 16:16
   d. To make disciples by baptizing them - Mt 28:19
2. Is this the gospel and response being proclaimed today?
   a. Some preach the gospel of health and wealth, with a focus on
      "signs" and "wonders", rather than on the death, resurrection and
      exaltation of Christ!
   b. Some would tell the lost to simply "say the sinner's prayer", is
      that what Peter said?
Those who presume to preach in the name of Christ, should be careful to
preach as did His apostles; those who wish to respond to the grace of
God in Christ, should be careful to respond as did those who heard the
apostles preach!
Have you responded to the preaching of the gospel in the same manner as
did "The 3000 On Pentecost"? Remember...
   "...those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that
   day about three thousand souls were added to them." (Acts 2:41)


--《Executable Outlines