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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Acts 2

Verse 1

Was now come (εν τωι συνπληρουσταιen tōi sunplērousthai). Luke‘s favourite idiom of ενen with the articular present infinitive passive and the accusative of general reference, “in the being fulfilled completely (perfective use of συνsuṅ) as to the day of Pentecost.” Common verb, but only in Luke in N.T. In literal sense of filling a boat in Luke 8:23, about days in Luke 9:51 as here. Whether the disciples expected the coming of the Holy Spirit on this day we do not know. Blass holds that the present tense shows that the day had not yet come. It is a Hebrew idiom (Exodus 7:25) and Luke may mean that the day of Pentecost was not yet over, was still going on, though Hackett takes it for the interval (fifty days) between Passover and Pentecost. Apparently this day of Pentecost fell on the Jewish Sabbath (our Saturday). It was the feast of first fruits.

All together in one place (παντες ομου επι το αυτοpantes homou epi to auto). All together in the same place. Note ομουhomou here (correct text), not ομοτυμαδονhomothumadon as in Acts 1:14, and so a bit of tautology.

Verse 2

Suddenly (απνωaphnō). Old adverb, but in the N.T. only in Acts (Acts 2:2; Acts 16:26; Acts 28:6). Kin to εχαιπνηςexaiphnēs (Acts 22:6).

A sound (ηχοςēchos). Our εχοecho Old word, already in Luke 4:37 for rumour and Luke 21:25 for the roar of the sea. It was not wind, but a roar or reverberation “as of the rushing of a mighty wind” (ωσπερ περομενης πνοης βιαιαςhōsper pheromenēs pnoēs biaias). This is not a strict translation nor is it the genitive absolute. It was “an echoing sound as of a mighty wind borne violently” (or rushing along like the whirr of a tornado). ΠνοηPnoē (wind) is used here (in the N.T. only here and Acts 17:25 though old word) probably because of the use of πνευμαpneuma in Acts 2:4 of the Holy Spirit. In John 3:5-8 πνευμαpneuma occurs for both wind and Spirit.

Filled (επληρωσενeplērōsen). “As a bath is filled with water, that they might be baptized with the Holy Ghost, in fulfilment of Acts 1:5 ” (Canon Cook).

They were sitting (ησαν κατημενοιēsan kathēmenoi). Periphrastic imperfect middle of κατημαιkathēmai f0).

Verse 3

Parting asunder (διαμεριζομεναιdiamerizomenai). Present middle (or passive) participle of διαμεριζωdiamerizō old verb, to cleave asunder, to cut in pieces as a butcher does meat (aorist passive in Luke 11:17.). So middle here would mean, parting themselves asunder or distributing themselves. The passive voice would be “being distributed.” The middle is probably correct and means that “the fire-like appearance presented itself at first, as it were, in a single body, and then suddenly parted in this direction and that; so that a portion of it rested on each of those present” (Hackett). The idea is not that each tongue was cloven, but each separate tongue looked like fire, not real fire, but looking like (ωσειhōsei as if) fire. The audible sign is followed by a visible one (Knowling). “Fire had always been, with the Jews, the symbol of the Divine presence (cf. Exodus 3:2; Deuteronomy 5:4). No symbol could be more fitting to express the Spirit‘s purifying energy and refining energy” (Furneaux). The Baptist had predicted a baptizing by the Messiah in the Holy Spirit and in fire (Matthew 3:11).

It sat (εκατισενekathisen). Singular verb here, though plural ωπτησανōpthēsan with tongues (γλωσσαιglōssai). A tongue that looked like fire sat upon each one.

Verse 4

With other tongues (ετεραις γλωσσαιςheterais glōssais). Other than their native tongues. Each one began to speak in a language that he had not acquired and yet it was a real language and understood by those from various lands familiar with them. It was not jargon, but intelligible language. Jesus had said that the gospel was to go to all the nations and here the various tongues of earth were spoken. One might conclude that this was the way in which the message was to be carried to the nations, but future developments disprove it. This is a third miracle (the sound, the tongues like fire, the untaught languages). There is no blinking the fact that Luke so pictures them. One need not be surprised if this occasion marks the fulfilment of the Promise of the Father. But one is not to confound these miraculous signs with the Holy Spirit. They are merely proof that he has come to carry on the work of his dispensation. The gift of tongues came also on the house of Cornelius at Caesarea (Acts 10:44-47; Acts 11:15-17), the disciples of John at Ephesus (Acts 19:6), the disciples at Corinth (1 Corinthians 14:1-33). It is possible that the gift appeared also at Samaria (Acts 8:18). But it was not a general or a permanent gift. Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 14:22 that “tongues” were a sign to unbelievers and were not to be exercised unless one was present who understood them and could translate them. This restriction disposes at once of the modern so-called tongues which are nothing but jargon and hysteria. It so happened that here on this occasion at Pentecost there were Jews from all parts of the world, so that some one would understand one tongue and some another without an interpreter such as was needed at Corinth. The experience is identical in all four instances and they are not for edification or instruction, but for adoration and wonder and worship.

As the Spirit gave them utterance (κατως το πνευμα εδιδου αποπτεγγεσται αυτοιςkathōs to pneuma edidou apophtheggesthai autois). This is precisely what Paul claims in 1 Corinthians 12:10, 1 Corinthians 12:28, but all the same without an interpreter the gift was not to be exercised (1 Corinthians 14:6-19). Paul had the gift of tongues, but refused to exercise it except as it would be understood. Note the imperfect tense here (εδιδουedidou). Perhaps they did not all speak at once, but one after another. ΑποπτεγγεσταιApophtheggesthai is a late verb (lxx of prophesying, papyri). Lucian uses it of the ring of a vessel when it strikes a reef. It is used of eager, elevated, impassioned utterance. In the N.T. only here, Acts 2:14; Acts 26:25. ΑποπτεγμApophthegm is from this verb.

Verse 5

Were dwelling (ησαν κατοικουντεςēsan katoikountes). Periphrastic imperfect active indicative. Usually κατοικεωkatoikeō means residence in a place (Acts 4:16; Acts 7:24; Acts 9:22, Acts 9:32) as in Acts 2:14 (Luke 13:4). Perhaps some had come to Jerusalem to live while others were here only temporarily, for the same word occurs in Acts 2:9 of those who dwell in Mesopotamia, etc.

Devout (ευλαβειςeulabeis). Reverent (ευeu well, λαμβανωlambanō to take). See note on Luke 2:25 like Simeon waiting for the consolation of Israel or hoping to die and be buried in the Holy City and also Acts 8:2.

Verse 6

When this sound was heard (γενομενης της πωνης ταυτηςgenomenēs tēs phōnēs tautēs). Genitive absolute with aorist middle participle. Note πωνηphōnē this time, not ηχοēcho as in Acts 2:1. ΠωνηPhōnē originally meant sound as of the wind (John 3:8) or an instrument (1 Corinthians 14:7, 1 Corinthians 14:8, 1 Corinthians 14:10), then voice of men. The meaning seems to be that the excited “other tongues” of Acts 2:4 were so loud that the noise drew the crowd together. The house where the 120 were may have been (Hackett) on one of the avenues leading to the temple.

Were confounded (συνεχυτηsunechuthē). First aorist passive indicative of συνχεωsuncheō or συνχυνωsunchunō to pour together precisely like the Latin confundo, to confound. The Vulgate has it mente confusa esto4. It is an old verb, but in the N.T. only in Acts five times (Acts 2:6; Acts 9:22; Acts 19:32; Acts 21:27, Acts 21:31).

In his own language (τηι ιδιαι διαλεκτωιtēi idiāi dialektōi). Locative case. Each one could understand his own language when he heard that. Every one that came heard somebody speaking in his native tongue.

Verse 7

Were amazed (εχισταντοexistanto). Imperfect middle of εχιστημιexistēmi to stand out of themselves, wide-open astonishment.

Marvelled (εταυμαζονethaumazon). Imperfect active. The wonder grew and grew.

Galileans (ΓαλιλαιοιGalilaioi). There were few followers of Jesus as yet from Jerusalem. The Galileans spoke a rude Aramaic (Mark 14:70) and probably crude Greek vernacular also. They were not strong on language and yet these are the very people who now show such remarkable linguistic powers. These people who have come together are all Jews and therefore know Aramaic and the vernacular Koiné, but there were various local tongues “wherein we were born” (εν ηι εγεννητημενen hēi egennēthēmen). An example is the Lycaonian (Acts 14:11). These Galilean Christians are now heard speaking these various local tongues. The lists in Acts 2:9-11 are not linguistic, but geographical and merely illustrate how widespread the Dispersion (ΔιασποραDiaspora) of the Jews was as represented on this occasion. Jews were everywhere, these “Jews among the nations” (Acts 21:21). Page notes four main divisions here: (I) The Eastern or Babylonian, like the Parthians, Medes, Elamites, Mesopotamians. (2) The Syrian like Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia. (3) The Egyptian like Egypt, Libya, Cyrene. (4) The Roman.

Jews and proselytes (προσηλυτοιprosēlutoi). These last from προσερχομαιproserchomai to come to, to join, Gentile converts to Judaism (circumcision, baptism, sacrifice). This proselyte baptism was immersion as is shown by I. Abrahams (Studies in Pharisaism and the Gospels, p. 38). Many remained uncircumcised and were called proselytes of the gate.

Verse 11

Cretes and Arabians. These two groups “seem to have been added to the list as an afterthought” (Knowling). Crete is an island to itself and Arabia was separate also though near Judea and full of Jews. The point is not that each one of these groups of Jews spoke a different language, but that wherever there was a local tongue they heard men speaking in it.

We do hear them speaking (ακουομεν λαλουντων αυτωνakouomen lalountōn autōn). Genitive case αυτωνautōn with ακουωakouō the participle λαλουντωνlalountōn agreeing with αυτωνautōn a sort of participial idiom of indirect discourse (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 1040ff.).

The mighty works (τα μεγαλειαta megaleia). Old adjective for magnificent. In lxx, but only here (not genuine in Luke 1:49) in the N.T. Cf. 2 Peter 1:16 for μεγαλειοτηςmegaleiotēs (majesty).

Verse 12

Were perplexed (διηπορουντοdiēporounto). Imperfect middle of διαπορεωdiaporeō (διαdia αa privative, ποροςporos) to be wholly at a loss. Old verb, but in N.T. only in Luke and Acts. They continued amazed (εχισταντοexistanto) and puzzled.

What meaneth this? (Τι τελει τουτο ειναιTi thelei touto einai). Literally, what does this wish to be?

Verse 13

Mocking (διαχλευαζοντεςdiachleuazontes). Old verb, but only here in the N.T., though the simple verb (without διαdia) in Acts 17:32. ΧλευηChleuē means a joke.

With new wine (γλευκουςgleukous). Sweet wine, but intoxicating. Sweet wine kept a year was very intoxicating. Genitive case here after μεμεστωμενοι εισινmemestōmenoi eisin (periphrastic perfect passive indicative), old verb μεστοωmestoō only here in the N.T. Tanked up with new wine, state of fulness.

Verse 14

Standing up with the eleven (στατεις συν τοις ενδεκαstatheis sun tois hendeka). Took his stand with the eleven including Matthias, who also rose up with them, and spoke as their spokesman, a formal and impressive beginning. The Codex Bezae has “ten apostles.” Luke is fond of this pictorial use of στατειςstatheis (first aorist passive participle of ιστημιhistēmi) as seen nowhere else in the N.T. (Luke 18:11, Luke 18:40; Luke 19:8; Acts 5:20; Acts 17:22; Acts 27:21).

Lifted up his voice (επηρεν την πωνην αυτουepēren tēn phōnēn autou). This phrase only in Luke in the N.T. (Luke 11:29; Acts 2:14; Acts 14:11; Acts 22:22), but is common in the old writers. First aorist active indicative of επαιρωepairō The large crowd and the confusion of tongues demanded loud speaking. “This most solemn, earnest, yet sober speech” (Bengel). Codex Bezae adds “first” after “voice.” Peter did it to win and hold attention.

Give ear unto my words (ενωτισαστε τα ρηματα μουenōtisasthe ta rhēmata mou). Late verb in lxx and only here in the N.T. First aorist middle from ενωτιζομαιenōtizomai (εν ουςenous ear) to give ear to, receive into the ear. People‘s ears differ greatly, but in public speech they have to be reached through the ear. That puts an obligation on the speaker and also on the auditors who should sit where they can hear with the ears which they have, an obligation often overlooked.

Verse 15

As ye suppose (ως υμεις υπολαμβανετεhōs humeis hupolambanete). Note use of υμειςhumeis (ye) for decided emphasis.

The third hour (ωρα τριτηhōra tritē). Three o‘clock in the day Jewish time, nine Roman. Drunkenness belongs to the night (1 Thessalonians 5:7). It was a quick, common sense reply, and complete answer to their suspicion.

Verse 16

This is that which hath been spoken by the prophet Joel (τουτο εστιν το ειρημενον δια του προπητου Ιωηλtouto estin to eirēmenon dia tou prophētou Iōēl). Positive interpretation of the supernatural phenomena in the light of the Messianic prophecy of Joel 2:28-32. Peter‘s mind is now opened by the Holy Spirit to understand the Messianic prophecy and the fulfilment right before their eyes. Peter now has spiritual insight and moral courage. The power (δυναμιςdunamis) of the Holy Spirit has come upon him as he proceeds to give the first interpretation of the life and work of Jesus Christ since his Ascension. It is also the first formal apology for Christianity to a public audience. Peter rises to the height of his powers in this remarkable sermon. Jesus had foretold that he would be a Rock and now he is no longer shale, but a solid force for aggressive Christianity. He follows here in Acts 2:17-21 closely the lxx text of Joel and then applies the passage to the present emergency (Acts 2:22-24).

Verse 17

In the last days (εν ταις εσχαταις ημεραιςen tais eschatais hēmerais). Joel does not have precisely these words, but he defines “those days” as being “the day of the Lord” (cf. Isaiah 2:2; Micah 4:1).

I will pour forth (εκχεωekcheō). Future active indicative of εκχεωekcheō This future like εδομαιedomai and πιομαιpiomai is without tense sign, probably like the present in the futuristic sense (Robertson, Grammar, p. 354). Westcott and Hort put a different accent on the future, but the old Greek had no accent. The old Greek had εκχευσωekcheusō This verb means to pour out.

Of my Spirit (απο του πνευματοςapo tou pneumatos). This use of αποapo (of) is either because of the variety in the manifestations of the Spirit (1 Corinthians 12) or because the Spirit in his entirety remains with God (Holtzmann, Wendt). But the Hebrew has it: “I will pour out my Spirit” without the partitive idea in the lxx.

And your daughters (και αι τυγατερες μωνkai hai thugateres hūmōn). Anna is called a prophetess in Luke 2:36 and the daughters of Philip prophesy (Acts 21:9) and Acts 2:18 (handmaidens). See also 1 Corinthians 11:5 (προπητουσαprophētousa).

Visions (ορασειςhoraseis). Late word for the more common οραμαhorama both from οραωhoraō to see. In Revelation 4:3 it means appearance, but in Revelation 9:17 as here an ecstatic revelation or vision.

Dream dreams (ενυπνιοις ενυπνιαστησονταιenupniois enupniasthēsontai). Shall dream with (instrumental case) dreams. First future passive of ενυπνιαζωenupniaz from ενυπνιοςenupnios (ενen and υπνοςhupnos in sleep), a common late word. Only here in the N.T. (this from Joel as all these Acts 2:17-21 are) and Judges 1:8.

Yea and (και γεkai ge). Intensive particle γεge added to καιkai (and), an emphatic addition (=Hebrew vegam).

Servants (δουλουςdoulous), handmaidens (δουλαςdoulas). Slaves, actual slaves of men. The humblest classes will receive the Spirit of God (cf. 1 Corinthians 1:26-31). But the word “prophesy” here is not in the lxx (or the Hebrew).

Verse 19

Wonders (τεραταterata). Apparently akin to the verb τηρεωtēreō to watch like a wonder in the sky, miracle (μιραχυλυμmiraculum), marvel, portent. In the New Testament the word occurs only in the plural and only in connection with σημειαsēmeia (signs) as here and in Acts 2:43. But signs (σημειαsēmeia) here is not in the lxx. See note on Matthew 11:20. In Acts 2:22 all three words occur together: powers, wonders, signs (δυναμεσι τερασι σημειοιςdunamesiανωterasiκατωsēmeiois).

As above (αιμα και πυρ και ατμιδα καπνουanō). This word is not in the lxx nor is “beneath” (katō), both probably being added to make clearer the contrast between heaven and earth.

Blood and fire and vapour of smoke (haima kai pur kai atmida kapnou). A chiasm as these words illustrate bloodshed and destruction by fire as signs here on earth.

Verse 20

Shall be turned (μεταστραπησεταιmetastraphēsetai). Second future passive of μεταστρεπωmetastrephō common verb, but only three times in the N.T. (Acts 2:20 from Joel; James 4:9; Galatians 1:7). These are the “wonders” or portents of Acts 2:19. It is worth noting that Peter interprets these “portents” as fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost, though no such change of the sun into darkness or of the moon into blood is recorded. Clearly Peter does not interpret the symbolism of Joel in literal terms. This method of Peter may be of some service in the Book of Revelation where so many apocalyptic symbols occur as well as in the great Eschatological Discourse of Jesus in Matthew 24, 25. In Matthew 24:6, Matthew 24:29 Jesus had spoken of wars on earth and wonders in heaven.

Before the day of the Lord come, that great and notable day (πριν ελτειν ημεραν κυριου την μεγαλην και επιπανηprin elthein hēmeran kuriou tēn megalēn kai epiphanē). The use of πρινprin with the infinitive and the accusative of general reference is a regular Greek idiom. The use of the adjectives with the article is also good Greek, though the article is not here repeated as in Acts 1:25. The Day of the Lord is a definite conception without the article.

Notable (επιπανηepiphanē) is the same root as epiphany (επιπανειαepiphaneia) used of the Second Coming of Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:8; 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1; Titus 2:13). It translates here the Hebrew word for “terrible.” In the Epistles the Day of the Lord is applied (Knowling) to the Coming of Christ for judgment (1 Thessalonians 5:2; 1 Corinthians 1:8; 2 Corinthians 1:14; Philemon 1:10).

Verse 21

Shall call on (επικαλεσηταιepikalesētai). First aorist middle subjunctive of επικαλεωepikaleō common verb, to call to, middle voice for oneself in need. Indefinite relative clause with εανean and so subjunctive, punctiliar idea, in any single case, and so aorist.

Verse 22

Hear these words (ακουσατε τους λογους τουτουςakousate tous logous toutous). Do it now (aorist tense). With unerring aim Peter has found the solution for the phenomena. He has found the key to God‘s work on this day in his words through Joel.

As ye yourselves know (κατως αυτοι οιδατεkathōs autoi oidate). Note αυτοιautoi for emphasis. Peter calls the audience to witness that his statements are true concerning “Jesus the Nazarene.” He wrought his miracles by the power of God in the midst of these very people here present.

Verse 23

Him (τουτονtouton). “This one,” resumptive and emphatic object of “did crucify and slay.”

Being delivered up (εκδοτονekdoton). Verbal adjective from εκδιδωμιekdidōmi to give out or over. Old word, but here only in the N.T. Delivered up by Judas, Peter means.

By the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God (τηι ωρισμενηι βουληι και προγνωσηι του τεουtēi hōrismenēi boulēi kai prognōsēi tou theou). Instrumental case. Note both purpose (βουληboulē) and foreknowledge (προγνωσιςprognōsis) of God and “determined” (ωρισμενηhōrismenē perfect passive participle, state of completion). God had willed the death of Jesus (John 3:16) and the death of Judas (Acts 1:16), but that fact did not absolve Judas from his responsibility and guilt (Luke 22:22). He acted as a free moral agent.

By the hand (δια χειροςdia cheiros). Luke is fond of these figures (hand, face, etc.) very much like the Hebrew though the vernacular of all languages uses them.

Lawless men (ανομωνanomōn). Men without law, who recognize no law for their conduct, like men in high and low stations today who defy the laws of God and man. Old word, very common in the lxx.

Ye did crucify (προσπηχαντεςprospēxantes). First aorist active participle of προσπηγνυμιprospēgnumi rare compound word in Dio Cassius and here only in the N.T. One must supply τωι σταυρωιtōi staurōi and so it means “fastened to the cross,” a graphic picture like Paul‘s “nailed to the cross” (προσηλωσας τωι σταυρωιprosēlōsas tōi staurōi) in Colossians 2:14.

Did slay (ανειλατεaneilate). Second aorist active indicative with first aorist vowel αa instead of οo as is common in the Koiné. This verb αναιρεωanaireō to take up, is often used for kill as in Acts 12:2. Note Peter‘s boldness now under the power of the Holy Spirit. He charges the people to their faces with the death of Christ.

Verse 24

God raised up (ο τεος ανεστησενho theos anestēsen). Est hoc summum orationis (Blass). Apparently this is the first public proclamation to others than believers of the fact of the Resurrection of Jesus. “At a time it was still possible to test the statement, to examine witnesses, to expose fraud, the Apostle openly proclaimed the Resurrection as a fact, needing no evidence, but known to his hearers” (Furneaux).

The pangs of death (τας ωδινας του τανατουtas ōdinas tou thanatou). Codex Bezae has “Hades” instead of death. The lxx has ωδινας τανατουōdinas thanatou in Psalm 18:4, but the Hebrew original means “snares” or “traps” or “cords” of death where sheol and death are personified as hunters laying snares for prey. How Peter or Luke came to use the old Greek word ωδιναςōdinas (birth pangs) we do not know. Early Christian writers interpreted the Resurrection of Christ as a birth out of death. “Loosing” (λυσαςlusas) suits better the notion of “snares” held a prisoner by death, but birth pangs do bring deliverance to the mother also.

Because (κατοτιkathoti). This old conjunction (κατα οτιkataκρατεισται αυτονhoti) occurs in the N.T. only in Luke‘s writings.

That he should be holden (ην αδυνατονkrateisthai auton). Infinitive present passive with accusative of general reference and subject of λυσαςēn adunaton The figure goes with “loosed” (lusas) above.

Verse 25

Concerning him (εις αυτονeis auton). Peter interprets Psalm 16:8-11 as written by David and with reference to the Messiah. There is but one speaker in this Psalm and both Peter here and Paul in Acts 13:36 make it the Messiah. David is giving his own experience which is typical of the Messiah (Knowling).

I beheld (προορωμηνproorōmēn). Imperfect middle without augment of προοραωprooraō common verb, but only twice in the N.T., to see beforehand (Acts 21:29) or to see right before one as here. This idea of προprȯ is made plainer by “before my face” (ενωπιον μουenōpion mou).

On my right hand (εκ δεχιων μουek dexin mou). The Lord Jehovah like a defender or advocate stands at David‘s right hand as in trials in court (Psalm 109:31).

That (ιναhina) here is almost result.

Moved (σαλευτωsaleuthō). First aorist passive subjunctive of σαλευωsaleuō to shake like an earthquake.

Verse 26

Was glad (ηυπραντηēuphranthē). First aorist (timeless here like the Hebrew perfect) passive indicative of ευπραινωeuphrainō (cf. Luke 15:32). Timeless also is “rejoiced” (ηγαλλιασατοēgalliasato).

Shall dwell (κατασκηνωσειkataskēnōsei). Shall tabernacle, pitch a tent, make one‘s abode (cf. Matthew 13:32). See note on Matthew 8:20 about kataskēnōseis (nests)

In hope (ep' elpidi). On hope, the hope of the resurrection.

Verse 27

In Hades (εις αιδηνeis Hāidēn). Hades is the unseen world, Hebrew Sheol, but here it is viewed as death itself “considered as a rapacious destroyer” (Hackett). It does not mean the place of punishment, though both heaven and the place of torment are in Hades (Luke 16:23). “Death and Hades are strictly parallel terms: he who is dead is in Hades” (Page). The use of ειςeis here=ενen is common enough. The Textus Receptus here reads εις αιδουeis Hāidou (genitive case) like the Attic idiom with δομονdomon (abode) understood. “Hades” in English is not translation, but transliteration. The phrase in the Apostles‘ Creed, “descended into hell” is from this passage in Acts (Hades, not Gehenna). The English word “hell” is Anglo-Saxon from ελανhelan to hide, and was used in the Authorized Version to translate both Hades as here and Gehenna as in Matthew 5:22.

Thy Holy One (τον οσιον σουton hosion sou). Peter applies these words to the Messiah.

Corruption (διαπτορανdiaphthoran). The word can mean destruction or putrefaction from διαπτειρωdiaphtheirō old word, but in N.T. only here and Acts 13:34-37. The Hebrew word in Psalm 16:1-11 can mean also the pit or the deep.

Verse 28

The ways of life (οδους ζωηςhodous zōēs). Though dead God will show him the ways back to life.

Verse 29

I may say (εχον ειπεινexon eipein). Supply εστινestin before εχονexon periphrastic present indicative of εχειμιexeimi to allow, permit. The Authorized Version has “Let me speak,” supplying εστοesto present imperative.

Freely (μετα παρρησιαςmeta parrēsias). Telling it all (παν ρησιαpanειπονrhēsia from του πατριαρχουeipon to speak), with fulness, with boldness. Luke is fond of the phrase (as in Acts 4:13). It is a new start for Simon Peter, full of boldness and courage.

The patriarch (πατριαtou patriarchou). Transliteration of the word, from αρχωpatria family, and εταπηarchō to rule, the founder of a family. Late word in lxx. Used of Abraham (Hebrews 7:4), of the twelve sons of Jacob as founders of the several tribes (Acts 7:8), and here of David as head of the family from whom the Messiah comes.

Was buried (ταπτωetaphē). Second aorist passive indicative of thaptō His tomb was on Matthew. Zion where most of the kings were buried. The tomb was said to have fallen into ruins in the time of the Emperor Hadrian. Josephus (Ant. XVI. 7, 1) attributes most of the misfortunes of Herod‘s family to the fact that he tried to rifle the tomb of David.

Verse 31

Foreseeing (προιδωνproidōn). Second aorist active participle. Did it as a prophet.

Of the Christ (του Χριστουtou Christou). Of the Messiah. See under Acts 2:32. This is a definite statement by Peter that David knew that in Psalm 16:1-11 he was describing the resurrection of the Messiah.

Verse 32

This Jesus (τουτον τον Ιησουνtouton ton Iēsoun). Many of the name “Jesus,” but he means the one already called “the Nazarene” (Acts 2:22) and foretold as the Messiah in Psalm 16:1-11 and raised from the dead by God in proof that he is the Messiah (Acts 2:24, Acts 2:32), “this Jesus whom ye crucified” (Acts 2:36). Other terms used of him in the Acts are the Messiah, Acts 2:31, the one whom God “anointed” (Acts 10:38), as in John 1:41, Jesus Christ (Acts 9:34). In Acts 2:36 God made this Jesus Messiah, in Acts 3:20 the Messiah Jesus, in Acts 17:3 Jesus is the Messiah, in Acts 18:5 the Messiah is Jesus, in Acts 24:24 Christ Jesus.

Whereof (ουhou). Or “of whom.” Either makes sense and both are true. Peter claims the whole 120 as personal witnesses to the fact of the Resurrection of Jesus from the dead and they are all present as Peter calls them to witness on the point. In Galilee over 500 had seen the Risen Christ at one time (1 Corinthians 15:6) most of whom were still living when Paul wrote. Thus the direct evidence for the resurrection of Jesus piles up in cumulative force.

Verse 33

By the right hand of God (τηι δεχιαι του τεουtēi dexiāi tou theou). This translation makes it the instrumental case. The margin has it “at” instead of “by,” that is the locative case. And it will make sense in the true dative case, “to the right hand of God.” These three cases came to have the same form in Greek. Romans 8:24 furnishes another illustration of like ambiguity (τηι ελπιδιtēi elpidi), saved by hope, in hope, or for hope. Usually it is quite easy to tell the case when the form is identical.

Exalted (υπσωτειςhupsōtheis). First aorist passive participle of υπσοωhupsoō to lift up. Here both the literal and tropical sense occurs. Cf. John 12:32.

The promise of the Holy Spirit (την επαγγελιαν του πνευματος του αγιουtēn epaggelian tou pneumatos tou hagiou). The promise mentioned in Acts 1:4 and now come true, consisting in the Holy Spirit “from the Father” (παρα του πατροςpara tou patros), sent by the Father and by the Son (John 15:26; John 16:7). See also Galatians 3:14.

He hath poured forth (εχεχεενexecheen). Aorist active indicative of εκχεωekcheō the verb used by Joel and quoted by Peter already in Acts 2:17, Acts 2:18. Jesus has fulfilled his promise.

This which ye see and hear (τουτο ο υμεις και βλεπετε και ακουετεtouto ho humeis kai blepete kai akouete). This includes the sound like the rushing wind, the tongues like fire on each of them, the different languages spoken by the 120. “The proof was before their eyes in this new energy from heaven” (Furneaux), a culminating demonstration that Jesus was the Messiah.

Verse 34

Ascended not (ουανεβηou̇̇anebē). It is more emphatic than that: For not David ascended into the heavens. Peter quotes Psalm 110:1 as proof. No passage in the O.T. is so constantly quoted as Messianic as this. “St. Peter does not demand belief upon his own assertion, but he again appeals to the Scriptures, and to words which could not have received a fulfilment in the case of David” (Knowling).

Sit thou (κατουkathou). Late Koiné{[28928]}š form for earlier κατησοkathēso present middle imperative second singular of κατημαιkathēmai f0).

Verse 35

Till I make (εως αν τωheōs an thō). Second aorist active subjunctive of τιτημιtithēmi with ανan after εωςheōs for the future, a common Greek idiom. This dominion of Christ as Mediator will last till the plan of the kingdom is carried out (1 Corinthians 15:23-28). Complete subjugation will come, perhaps referring to the custom of victorious kings placing their feet upon the necks of their enemies (Joshua 10:24).

Therefore assuredly (Ασπαλως ουνAsphalōs oun). Assuredly therefore, without any slip or trip (ασπαληςasphalēs from αa privative and σπαλλωsphallō to trip, to slip. Peter draws a powerfully pungent conclusion by the use of the adverb ασπαλωςasphalōs and the inferential conjunction ουνoun Peter‘s closing sentence drives home the point of his sermon: “This very Jesus whom ye crucified (note υμειςhumeis strongly emphatic ye), him God made both Lord and Messiah” (και κυριον και Χριστονkai kurion kai Christon), as David foretold in Psalm 110:1-7 and as the events of this day have confirmed. The critics are disturbed over how Luke could have gotten the substance of this masterful address spoken on the spur of the moment with passion and power. They even say that Luke composed it for Peter and put the words in his mouth. If so, he made a good job of it. But Peter could have written out the notes of the address afterwards. Luke had plenty of chances to get hold of it from Peter or from others.

Verse 37

They were pricked in their heart (κατενυγησαν την καρδιανkatenugēsan tēn kardian). Second aorist indicative of κατανυσσωkatanussō a rare verb (lxx) to pierce, to sting sharply, to stun, to smite. Homer used it of horses dinting the earth with their hoofs. The substantive κατανυχιςkatanuxis occurs in Romans 11:8. Here only in the N.T. It is followed here by the accusative of the part affected, the heart.

What shall we do? (Τι ποιησωμενTi poiēsōmen). Deliberative subjunctive first aorist active. The sermon went home, they felt the sting of Peter‘s words, compunction (χομπυνγοcompungo). Codex Bezae adds: “Show us.”

Verse 38

Repent ye (μετανοησατεmetanoēsate). First aorist (ingressive) active imperative. Change your mind and your life. Turn right about and do it now. You crucified this Jesus. Now crown him in your hearts as Lord and Christ. This first.

And be baptized every one of you (και βαπτιστητω εκαστος μωνkai baptisthētō hekastos hūmōn). Rather, “And let each one of you be baptized.” Change of number from plural to singular and of person from second to third. This change marks a break in the thought here that the English translation does not preserve. The first thing to do is make a radical and complete change of heart and life. Then let each one be baptized after this change has taken place, and the act of baptism be performed “in the name of Jesus Christ” (εν τωι ονοματι Ιησου Χριστουen tōi onomati Iēsou Christou). In accordance with the command of Jesus in Matthew 28:19 (εις το ονομαeis to onoma). No distinction is to be insisted on between εις το ονομαeis to onoma and εν τωι ονοματιen tōi onomati with βαπτιζωbaptizō since ειςeis and ενen are really the same word in origin. In Acts 10:48 εν τωι ονοματι Ιησου Χριστουen tōi onomati Iēsou Christou occurs, but ειςeis to ονομαonoma in Acts 8:16; Acts 19:5. The use of ονομαonoma means in the name or with the authority of one as εις ονομα προπητουeis onoma prophētou (Matthew 10:41) as a prophet, in the name of a prophet. In the Acts the full name of the Trinity does not occur in baptism as in Matthew 28:19, but this does not show that it was not used. The name of Jesus Christ is the distinctive one in Christian baptism and really involves the Father and the Spirit. See note on Matthew 28:19 for discussion of this point. “Luke does not give the form of words used in baptism by the Apostles, but merely states the fact that they baptized those who acknowledged Jesus as Messiah or as Lord” (Page).

Unto the remission of your sins (eis aphesin tōn hamartiōn hūmōn). This phrase is the subject of endless controversy as men look at it from the standpoint of sacramental or of evangelical theology. In themselves the words can express aim or purpose for that use of eis does exist as in 1 Corinthians 2:7 εις απεσιν των αμαρτιων μωνeis doxan hēmōn (for our glory). But then another usage exists which is just as good Greek as the use of ειςeis for aim or purpose. It is seen in Matthew 10:41 in three examples εις δοχαν ημωνeis onoma prophētouειςdikaiouεις ονομα προπητου δικαιου ματητουmathētou where it cannot be purpose or aim, but rather the basis or ground, on the basis of the name of prophet, righteous man, disciple, because one is, etc. It is seen again in Matthew 12:41 about the preaching of Jonah (εις το κηρυγμα Ιωναeis to kērugma Iōna). They repented because of (or at) the preaching of Jonah. The illustrations of both usages are numerous in the N.T. and the Koiné{[28928]}š generally (Robertson, Grammar, p. 592). One will decide the use here according as he believes that baptism is essential to the remission of sins or not. My view is decidedly against the idea that Peter, Paul, or any one in the New Testament taught baptism as essential to the remission of sins or the means of securing such remission. So I understand Peter to be urging baptism on each of them who had already turned (repented) and for it to be done in the name of Jesus Christ on the basis of the forgiveness of sins which they had already received.

The gift of the Holy Ghost (την δωρεαν του αγιου πνευματοςtēn dōrean tou hagiou pneumatos). The gift consists (Acts 8:17) in the Holy Spirit (genitive of identification).

Verse 39

The promise (η επαγγελιαhē epaggelia). The promise made by Jesus (Acts 1:4) and foretold by Joel (Acts 2:18).

To you (υμινhumin). You Jews. To your descendants, sons and daughters of Acts 2:17.

To all that are afar off (πασιν τοις εις μακρανpāsin tois eis makran The horizon widens and includes the Gentiles. Those “afar off” from the Jews were the heathen (Isaiah 49:1; Isaiah 57:19; Ephesians 2:13, Ephesians 2:17). The rabbis so used it.

Shall call (αν προσκαλεσηταιan proskalesētai). First aorist middle subjunctive with ανan in an indefinite relative clause, a perfectly regular construction. The Lord God calls men of every nation anywhere whether Jews or Gentiles. It may be doubted how clearly Peter grasped the significance of these words for he will have trouble over this very matter on the housetop in Joppa and in Caesarea, but he will see before long the full sweep of the great truth that he here proclaims under the impulse of the Holy Spirit. It was a great moment that Peter here reaches.

Verse 40

With many other words (ετεροις λογοις πλειοσινheterois logois pleiosin). Instrumental case. Not necessarily “different” (ετεροιςheterois), but “further,” showing that Luke does not pretend to give all that Peter said. This idea is also brought out clearly by πλειοσινpleiosin (“more,” not “many”), more than these given by Luke.

He testified (διεμαρτυρατοdiemarturato). First aorist middle of διαμαρτυρομαιdiamarturomai old verb, to make solemn attestation or call to witness (perfective use of διαdia), while μαρτυρεωmartureō is to bear witness. Page insists that here it should be translated “protested solemnly” to the Jews as it seems to mean in Luke 16:28; Acts 20:23; 1 Timothy 5:21; 2 Timothy 2:14; 2 Timothy 4:1.

And exhorted (και παρεκαλειkai parekalei). Imperfect active, kept on exhorting.

Save yourselves (σωτητεsōthēte). First aorist passive of σωζωsōzō Literally, Be ye saved.

Crooked (σκολιαςskolias). Old word, opposite of ορτοςorthos straight. Pravus the opposite of rectus, a perversity for turning off from the truth. Cf. Luke 9:41; Philippians 2:15.

Verse 41

They then (οι μεν ουνHoi men oun). A common phrase in Acts either without antithesis as in Acts 1:6; Acts 5:41; Acts 8:4, Acts 8:25; Acts 9:31; Acts 11:19; Acts 16:5; or with it as here, Acts 8:25; Acts 13:4; Acts 14:3; Acts 17:17; Acts 23:31; Acts 25:4. ΟυνOun connects with what precedes as the result of Peter‘s sermon while μενmen points forward to what is to follow.

Were baptized (εβαπτιστησανebaptisthēsan). First aorist passive indicative, constative aorist. Note that only those who had already received the word and were converted were baptized.

There were added (προσετετησανprosetethēsan). First aorist passive indicative of προστιτημιprostithēmi old verb to add, to join to. Luke means that the 3,000 were added to the 120 already enlisted. It is not stated they were all baptized by Peter or the twelve or all on the same day, though that is the natural implication of the language. The numerous pools in Jerusalem afforded ample opportunity for such wholesale baptizing and Hackett notes that the habit of orientals would place no obstacle in the way of the use of the public reservoirs. Furneaux warns us that all the 3,000 may not have been genuine converts and that many of them were pilgrims at the passover who returned home.

Souls (πσυχαιpsuchai). Persons as in Acts 2:43.

Verse 42

They continued steadfastly (ησαν προσκαρτυρουντεςēsan proskarturountes). Periphrastic active imperfect of προσκαρτυρεωproskartureō as in Acts 1:14 (same participle in Acts 2:46).

Fellowship (κοινωνιαιKoinōniāi). Old word from κοινωνοςKoinōnos (partner, sharer in common interest) and this from κοινοςKoinos what is common to all. This partnership involves participation in, as the blood of Christ (Philippians 2:1) or co-operation in the work of the gospel (Philippians 1:5) or contribution for those in need (2 Corinthians 8:4; 2 Corinthians 9:13). Hence there is wide diversity of opinion concerning the precise meaning of κοινωνιαKoinōnia in this verse. It may refer to the distribution of funds in Acts 2:44 or to the oneness of spirit in the community of believers or to the Lord‘s Supper (as in 1 Corinthians 10:16) in the sense of communion or to the fellowship in the common meals or αγαπαεagapae (love-feasts).

The breaking of bread (τηι κλασει του αρτουtēi klasei tou artou). The word κλασιςklasis is an old word, but used only by Luke in the N.T. (Luke 24:35; Acts 2:42), though the verb κλαωklaō occurs in other parts of the N.T. as in Acts 2:46. The problem here is whether Luke refers to the ordinary meal as in Luke 24:35 or to the Lord‘s Supper. The same verb κλαωklaō is used of breaking bread at the ordinary meal (Luke 24:30) or the Lord‘s Supper (Luke 22:19). It is generally supposed that the early disciples attached so much significance to the breaking of bread at the ordinary meals, more than our saying grace, that they followed the meal with the Lord‘s Supper at first, a combination called αγαπαιagapai or love-feasts. “There can be no doubt that the Eucharist at this period was preceded uniformly by a common repast, as was the case when the ordinance was instituted” (Hackett). This led to some abuses as in 1 Corinthians 11:20. Hence it is possible that what is referred to here is the Lord‘s Supper following the ordinary meal. “To simply explain τηι κλασει του αρτουtēi klasei tou artou as=‹The Holy Communion‘ is to pervert the plain meaning of words, and to mar the picture of family life, which the text places before us as the ideal of the early believers” (Page). But in Acts 20:7 they seem to have come together especially for the observance of the Lord‘s Supper. Perhaps there is no way to settle the point conclusively here.

The prayers (ταις προσευχαιςtais proseuchais). Services where they prayed as in Acts 1:14, in the temple (Acts 3:1), in their homes (Acts 4:23).

Verse 43

Came (εγινετοegineto). Imperfect middle, kept on coming.

Were done (εγινετοegineto). Same tense. Awe kept on coming on all and signs and wonders kept on coming through the apostles. The two things went on παρι πασσυpari passu the more wonders the more fear.

Verse 44

Were together (ησαν επι το αυτοēsan epi to auto). Some MSS. ησαν καιēsan kai (were and). But they were together in the same place as in Acts 2:1.

And had (και ειχονkai eichon). Imperfect active, kept on having, a habit in the present emergency.

Common (κοιναKoinéa). It was not actual communism, but they held all their property ready for use for the common good as it was needed (Acts 4:32). This situation appears nowhere else except in Jerusalem and was evidently due to special conditions there which did not survive permanently. Later Paul will take a special collection for the poor saints in Jerusalem.

Verse 45

Sold (επιπρασκονepipraskon). Imperfect active, a habit or custom from time to time. Old and common verb, πιπρασκωpipraskō

Parted (διεμεριζονdiemerizon). Imperfect again of διαμεριζωdiamerizō old verb for dividing or distributing between (διαdia) people.

According as any man had need (κατοτι αν τις χρειαν ειχενkathoti an tis chreian eichen). Regular Greek idiom for comparative clause with ανan and imperfect indicative corresponding precisely with the three preceding imperfects (Robertson, Grammar, p. 967).

Verse 46

With one accord in the temple (ομοτυμαδον εν τωι ιερωιhomothumadon en tōi hierōi). See note on Acts 1:14 for ομοτυμαδονhomothumadon They were still worshipping in the temple for no breach had yet come between Christians and Jews. Daily they were here and daily breaking bread at home (κατ οικονkat' oikon) which looks like the regular meal.

They did take their food (μετελαμβανον τροπηςmetelambanon trophēs). Imperfect tense again and clearly referring to the regular meals at home. Does it refer also to the possible αγαπαιagapai or to the Lord‘s Supper afterwards as they had common meals “from house to house” (κατ οικονkat' oikon)? We know there were local churches in the homes where they had “worship rooms,” the church in the house. At any rate it was “with singleness” (απελοτητιaphelotēti) of heart. The word occurs only here in the N.T., though a late Koiné{[28928]}š word (papyri). It comes from απεληςaphelēs free from rock (πελλευςphelleus is stony ground), smooth. The old form was απελειαapheleia f0).

Verse 47

Having favor (εχοντες χαρινechontes charin). Cf. Luke 2:52 of the Boy Jesus.

Added (προσετιτειprosetithei). Imperfect active, kept on adding. If the Lord only always “added” those who join our churches. Note Acts 2:41 where same verb is used of the 3,000.

To them (επι το αυτοepi to auto). Literally, “together.” Why not leave it so? “To the church” (τηι εκκλησιαιtēi ekklēsiāi) is not genuine. Codex Bezae has “in the church.”

Those that were being saved (τους σωζομενουςtous sōzomenous). Present passive participle. Probably for repetition like the imperfect προσετιτειprosetithei Better translate it “those saved from time to time.” It was a continuous revival, day by day. ΣωζωSōzō like σωτηριαsōtēria is used for “save” in three senses (beginning, process, conclusion), but here repetition is clearly the point of the present tense.

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The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright © Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Acts 2". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.