Acts 2

Acts 2
Uncial 076 (Gregory-Aland).JPG
Greek text of Acts 2:11–22 in Uncial 076, written in 5th/6th century.
BookActs of the Apostles
CategoryChurch history
Christian Bible partNew Testament
Order in the Christian part5

Acts 2 is the second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. The book containing this chapter is anonymous but early Christian tradition affirmed that Luke composed this book as well as the Gospel of Luke.[1] This chapter records the events on the day of Pentecost, about 10 days after the ascension of Jesus Christ.[2]


The original text was written in Koine Greek. This chapter is divided into 47 verses.

Textual witnesses[edit]

Some early manuscripts containing the text of this chapter are:

Old Testament references[edit]

Coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost (2:1–43)[edit]

The biblical narrative of Pentecost is given in the second chapter of the Book of Acts. Present were about one hundred and twenty followers of Christ (Acts 1:15), including the Twelve Apostles (i.e. the eleven faithful disciples and Matthias who had replaced Judas Iscariot),[6] Jesus' mother Mary, various other women disciples and Jesus' brothers (Acts 1:14). Their reception of the Holy Spirit in the Upper Room and their empowerment to speak in tongues are recounted in Acts 2:1–6:[7]

Verses 1–6[edit]

1When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.
5Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each.[8]

While those on whom the Spirit had descended were speaking in many languages, the Apostle Peter stood up with the eleven and proclaimed to the crowd that this event was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel (in Book of Joel 2:28–29): " ... I will pour out my Spirit...".[9] (Acts 2:17).

Verse 15[edit]

For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is the third hour of the day.[10]
  • "The third hour of the day" (about 9:00 AM)[11]: Peter explains that it is only breakfast time.[12]

Verses 16–21[edit]

16But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:
17 'In the last days it shall be, says God,
'that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh;
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams.
18Even on My menservants and maidservants
I will pour out My Spirit in those days;
and they shall prophesy.
19And I will show wonders in heaven above
and signs on the earth below:
blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke.
20The sun shall be turned into darkness,
and the moon into blood,
before that great and glorious day of the Lord comes.
21And whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.' [13]

The extended quotation from Joel 2:28–32 (LXX) is to support that this event is something predicted in Scripture, and it clarifies some points about the apostolic proclamation:[12]

  • (1) The ecstatic speech is to be identified with the biblical gift of prophecy, as the work of the same Spirit of God.
  • (2) This is a phenomenon of 'the last days' (verse 17), but is a stage before the final 'day of the Lord' (verse 20).[12]

Verses 22–24[edit]

22"Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth was a man attested to you by God with powerful works and wonders and signs, which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves know. 23You have taken Him, who was handed over to you by the ordained counsel and foreknowledge of God, and by lawless hands have crucified and killed Him, 24whom God raised up by loosening the pull of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it."[14]

Peter then turns to the question, "Who was Jesus?", appealing to many people in the audience who had witnessed the miracles performed by Jesus, as a divine attestation of his ministry in the midst of his people (verse 22). Jesus' death is the responsibility of three groups: (1) 'the immediate agency' ('lawless hands' or 'lawless men'); (2) 'the proximate motive force' (the local audience which had witnessed Jesus' ministry, verses 22-23); and behind both of those, 'the divine plan' (verse 24).[12]

  • "Loosening" (KJV/NKJV: "having loosed"): or having "destroyed or abolished"[15]
  • "Pull of death" (KJV/NKJV: "pains of death"): also in the sense of "birth pangs"[16]

Verse 38[edit]

Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."[17]
  • "Remission": or "forgiveness"[18]

Acts 2:41 then reports that about 3000 people were baptized and added to the number of believers.

Verse 41[edit]

Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.[19]

The fact that many understood in their native language, what the Spirit was saying demonstrates that the first miracle the Holy Spirit carried out was the translation of the Gospel. This message is one that is communicating "God's deeds of power."[20] Such miracle carries the undertone that the gospel, would be for a diverse group that for a long time had been divided. "Whereas in Babel humanity was divided by different tongues, in Pentecost that division was overcome."[21]

Location of the First Pentecost[edit]

The Cenacle on Mount Zion, claimed to be the location of the Last Supper and Pentecost. Bargil Pixner[22] claims the original Church of the Apostles is located under the current structure.

Traditional interpretation holds that the Descent of the Holy Spirit took place in the Upper Room, or Cenacle, on the day of Pentecost (Shavuot). The Upper Room was first mentioned in Luke 22:12–13.[23] This Upper Room was to be the location of the Last Supper and the institution of Holy Communion. The next mention of an "upper room" is in Acts 1:13–14, the continuation of the Luke narrative, authored by the same biblical writer.[24]

Here the disciples and women waited and they gave themselves up to constant prayer,[24] until the arrival of the "wind" mentioned above.

A description of the first Church (2:44–47)[edit]

Acts 2:44–47 contains a description of the earliest church, giving a practical view of how the church members acted. The verse covers several aspects of life:

  • The believers had everything in common
  • They sold property and possessions so as to give to anyone who was in need
  • They met together in the temple courts each day
  • They ate together in each other's homes

While not all commentators see this as a command to share property and possessions,[25] throughout the ages various groups of Christians have attempted to model this way of life. This can be seen in most monastic orders, some Anabaptist churches such as the Hutterites, and more recently in intentional communities such as the Bruderhof[26] and the Simple Way.[27]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Alexander 2007, p. 1028.
  2. ^ Halley, Henry H. Halley's Bible Handbook: an abbreviated Bible commentary. 23rd edition. Zondervan Publishing House. 1962.
  3. ^ Kirkpatrick 1901, p. 838.
  4. ^ Kirkpatrick 1901, p. 840.
  5. ^ Kirkpatrick 1901, p. 839.
  6. ^ Acts 1:26
  7. ^ Acts 2:1–6 NKJV
  8. ^ Acts 2:1–6 New Revised Standard Version
  9. ^ "Joel 2:28–29". Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  10. ^ Acts 2:15 MEV
  11. ^ Note [a] on Acts 2:15 in NKJV
  12. ^ a b c d Alexander 2007, p. 1032.
  13. ^ Acts 2:16–21 MEV
  14. ^ Acts 2:22–24 MEV
  15. ^ Note [a] on Acts 2:24 in NKJV
  16. ^ Note [b] on Acts 2:24 in NKJV
  17. ^ Acts 2:22–24 NKJV
  18. ^ Note [a] on Acts 2:38 in NKJV
  19. ^ Acts 2:41 NKJV
  20. ^ Gonzalez 2001, p. 36.
  21. ^ Gonzalez 2001, p. 35.
  22. ^ Bargil Pixner, The Church of the Apostles found on Mount Zion, Biblical Archaeology Review 16.3 May/June 1990 [1] Archived 2018-03-09 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ "Luke 22:12–13, English Standard Version". Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  24. ^ a b "Acts 1:13–14". Retrieved 2013-12-21.
  25. ^ Coalition, TGC – The Gospel. "Does the Book of Acts Command Socialism?". TGC – The Gospel Coalition. Retrieved 2017-06-02.
  26. ^ "What is the Bruderhof? Where in Sussex the Christian community is based, the rules and why they don't earn money from their jobs". inews. Retrieved 2019-10-08.
  27. ^ "About". the simple way. Retrieved 2017-06-02.


External links[edit]