Acts Chapter 2

Pentecost-the start of the church/the coming of the kingdom


26      Then they cast lots, and the lot fell to Matthias; so he was added to the eleven apostles.


1        When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one location.


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


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


4        All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit enabled them.


5        Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under the sky.


6        When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language.


7        Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans?


8        Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?


9        Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,


10      Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome


11      (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs--we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own languages!"


12      Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, "What does this mean?"


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


14      Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: "Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say.


15      These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It's only nine in the morning!


16      No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:


17      "`In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.


18      Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.


19      I will show wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke.


20      The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.


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


22      "Men of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.


23      This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.


24      But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.


25      David said about him: "`I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.


26      Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will live in hope,


27      because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay.


28      You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.'


29      "Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried; his tomb is here to this day.


30      But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne.


31      Seeing what was ahead, he spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to the grave, nor did his body see decay.


32      God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.


33      Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.


34      For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, "`The Lord said to my Lord: "Sit at my right hand


35      until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet."


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


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


38      Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

39      The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call."

40      With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation."

41      Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

42      They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.


43      Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles.


44      All the believers were together and had everything in common.


45      Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need.


46      Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,


47      praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.



Here is where the New Testament church got started. The Twelve Apostles were gathered in one house and just as Christ had told them the baptism of the Holy Spirit came on the TWELVE APOSTLES, nobody else.  (At least not until the same thing happens later to the Gentiles in Acts 10) This was a miracle and the purpose for which was just the same as any other miracle ever done—to confirm that it was God who was at work.  This was a way to confirm that these Twelve had God’s “seal of approval” as leaders of the new church and that it was Christ who was working through them.  As the scene was creating quite a stir, a huge crowd formed and was amazed that these Twelve men were speaking in languages that they had not studied. These other languages they had spoken were not some unintelligible “mumbo jumbo”, but actual languages of nations that existed at the time (v.8).  The “tongues of fire” came to rest on each of the Twelve Apostles but not on members of the crowd that had gathered. Some in the crowd thought the Apostles were drunk. But Peter explained otherwise. He explained that in the last days God would pour out his Spirit on all people, on all nations. Up until now the gift of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit was something God only gave to a select few—the prophets who lived under the Old Testament. But that was about to change.


Peter told the crowd how they had murdered their Messiah some 50 days earlier. The people were grief stricken.  They asked, “What shall we do?” They had just heard Peter, in the language of Joel, speak of a possible salvation; and the question, “What shall we do?” indisputably means, What shall we do to be saved?  And Peter told them, “Repent” (they weren’t saved yet-- verse 40 confirms this fact) and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ so that their sins would be forgiven and they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit that he spoke of when he quoted the prophet Joel in verses 17-21. This reference to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit was a reference to the gift of the Holy Spirit to be poured out on all men and received when we repent and are baptized into Christ for the remission of our sins (v.38)*. It was a reference to the gift that 3,000 people received that day when their sins were forgiven through repentance and baptism into Christ. The outward manifestation of the Spirit on the Apostles was a fulfillment of the prophecy of not only John the Baptist, but of Christ Himself. The gift of the Holy Spirit, which the 3,000 received when they were baptized, was not accompanied by an outward sign (the’ tongues of fire’) as it was with the Twelve. This outward sign on the Twelve served to fulfill prophesy and give authority to what Peter and the other Apostles taught.


Verse 42—they devoted themselves to the Apostles teaching. What was the Apostles’ teaching? Whatever it was that the Apostle Peter taught in verse 38.


McGarvey Commentary


“What about the Greek word “eis” in verse 38?”


Both John the Baptist and Jesus spoke of “the baptism of the Holy Spirit.” This was fulfilled at Pentecost 2,000 years ago. Its purpose was to mark the start of the New Testament church—the kingdom of God on earth.






* Even without the explanatory phrase-- for the forgiveness of sins, Peter’s answer remains totally unchanged. The crowd asks (after hearing Peter speak of salvation, the Lord’s name and, knowing their intense guilt of having killed Him),  “What shall we do (to be saved)?” And Peter replies, “Repent and be baptized…”