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Bible Commentaries

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Acts 2

Verse 1

Was now come (εν τω συνπληρουσθα). Luke's favourite idiom of εν with the articular present infinitive passive and the accusative of general reference, "in the being fulfilled completely (perfective use of συν-) 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 επ το αυτο). All together in the same place. Note ομου here (correct text), not ομοθυμαδον as in Acts 1:14, and so a bit of tautology.

Verse 2

Suddenly (αφνω). Old adverb, but in the N.T. only in Acts (Acts 2:2; Acts 16:26; Acts 28:6). Kin to εξαιφνης (Acts 22:61).

A sound (ηχος). Our εχο. 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 φερομενης πνοης βιαιας). 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). Πνοη (wind) is used here (in the N.T. only here and Acts 17:25 though old word) probably because of the use of πνευμα in verse Acts 2:4 of the Holy Spirit. In John 3:5-8 πνευμα occurs for both wind and Spirit.

Filled (επληρωσεν). "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 καθημενο). Periphrastic imperfect middle of καθημα.

Verse 3

Parting asunder (διαμεριζομενα). Present middle (or passive) participle of διαμεριζω, 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 (ωσε, 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 (εκαθισεν). Singular verb here, though plural ωπθησαν with tongues (γλωσσα). A tongue that looked like fire sat upon each one.

Verse 4

With other tongues (ετεραις γλωσσαις). 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 (καθως το πνευμα εδιδου αποφθεγγεσθα αυτοις). 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 (εδιδου). Perhaps they did not all speak at once, but one after another. Αποφθεγγεσθα 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, verse Acts 2:14; Acts 26:25. Αποφθεγμ is from this verb.

Verse 5

Were dwelling (ησαν κατοικουντες). Periphrastic imperfect active indicative. Usually κατοικεω means residence in a place (Acts 4:16; Acts 7:24; Acts 9:22; Acts 9:32) as in verse 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 verse Acts 2:9 of those who dwell in Mesopotamia, etc.

Devout (ευλαβεις). Reverent (ευ, well, λαμβανω, to take). See 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 φωνης ταυτης). Genitive absolute with aorist middle participle. Note φωνη this time, not ηχο as in verse Acts 2:1. Φωνη 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 verse 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 (συνεχυθη). First aorist passive indicative of συνχεω or συνχυνω, to pour together precisely like the Latin confundo, to confound. The Vulgate has it mente confusa est. 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 (τη ιδια διαλεκτω). 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 (εξισταντο). Imperfect middle of εξιστημ, to stand out of themselves, wide-open astonishment.

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

Galileans (Γαλιλαιο). 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 Koine, but there were various local tongues "wherein we were born" (εν η εγεννηθημεν). An example is the Lycaonian (Acts 14:11). These Galilean Christians are now heard speaking these various local tongues. The lists in verses Acts 2:9-11 are not linguistic, but geographical and merely illustrate how widespread the Dispersion (Διασπορα) 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 (προσηλυτο). These last from προσερχομα, 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 αυτων). Genitive case αυτων with ακουω the participle λαλουντων agreeing with αυτων, a sort of participial idiom of indirect discourse (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 1040ff.).

The mighty works (τα μεγαλεια). 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 μεγαλειοτης (majesty).

Verse 12

Were perplexed (διηπορουντο). Imperfect middle of διαπορεω (δια, α privative, πορος) to be wholly at a loss. Old verb, but in N.T. only in Luke and Acts. They continued amazed (εξισταντο) and puzzled.

What meaneth this? (Τ θελε τουτο εινα). Literally, what does this wish to be?

Verse 13

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

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

Verse 14

Standing up with the eleven (σταθεις συν τοις ενδεκα). 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 σταθεις (first aorist passive participle of ιστημ) 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 φωνην αυτου). 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 επαιρω. 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 (ενωτισασθε τα ρηματα μου). Late verb in LXX and only here in the N.T. First aorist middle from ενωτιζομα (εν, ους, 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 υπολαμβανετε). Note use of υμεις (ye) for decided emphasis.

The third hour (ωρα τριτη). 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 προφητου Ιωηλ). 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 (δυναμις) 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 verses 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 ημεραις). 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 (εκχεω). Future active indicative of εκχεω. This future like εδομα and πιομα 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 εκχευσω. This verb means to pour out.

Of my Spirit (απο του πνευματος). This use of απο (of) is either because of the variety in the manifestations of the Spirit (Acts 2:1) 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 (κα α θυγατερες υμων). Anna is called a prophetess in Luke 2:36 and the daughters of Philip prophesy (Acts 21:9) and verse Acts 2:18 (handmaidens). See also 1 Corinthians 11:5 (προφητουσα).

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

Dream dreams (ενυπνιοις ενυπνιασθησοντα). Shall dream with (instrumental case) dreams. First future passive of ενυπνιαζω from ενυπνιος (εν and υπνος, in sleep), a common late word. Only here in the N.T. (this from Joel as all these verses Acts 2:17-21 are) and Jude 1:8.

Yea and (κα γε). Intensive particle γε added to κα (and), an emphatic addition (=Hebrew vegam).

Servants (δουλους),

handmaidens (δουλας). 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 (τερατα). Apparently akin to the verb τηρεω, to watch like a wonder in the sky,

miracle (μιραχυλυμ), marvel, portent. In the New Testament the word occurs only in the plural and only in connection with σημεια (signs) as here and in verse Acts 2:43. But

signs (σημεια) here is not in the LXX. See on Matthew 11:20. In verse Acts 2:22 all three words occur together: powers, wonders, signs (δυναμεσι, τερασι, σημειοις).

As above (ανω). This word is not in the LXX nor is "beneath" (κατω), both probably being added to make clearer the contrast between heaven and earth.

Blood and fire and vapour of smoke (αιμα κα πυρ κα ατμιδα καπνου). A chiasm as these words illustrate bloodshed and destruction by fire as signs here on earth.

Verse 20

Shall be turned (μεταστραφησετα). Second future passive of μεταστρεφω, 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 verse 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 Acts 2:24; Acts 2:25. 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 ελθειν ημεραν κυριου την μεγαλην κα επιφανη). The use of πριν 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 (επιφανη) is the same root as epiphany (επιφανεια) 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; Philippians 1:10).

Verse 21

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

Verse 22

Hear these words (ακουσατε τους λογους τουτους). 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 (καθως αυτο οιδατε). Note αυτο 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 (τουτον). "This one," resumptive and emphatic object of "did crucify and slay."

Being delivered up (εκδοτον). Verbal adjective from εκδιδωμ, 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 (τη ωρισμενη βουλη κα προγνωση του θεου). Instrumental case. Note both purpose (βουλη) and foreknowledge (προγνωσις) of God and "determined" (ωρισμενη, 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 χειρος). Luke is fond of these figures (hand, face, etc.) very much like the Hebrew though the vernacular of all languages uses them.

Lawless men (ανομων). 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 (προσπηξαντες). First aorist active participle of προσπηγνυμ, rare compound word in Dio Cassius and here only in the N.T. One must supply τω σταυρω and so it means "fastened to the cross," a graphic picture like Paul's "nailed to the cross" (προσηλωσας τω σταυρω) in Colossians 2:14.

Did slay (ανειλατε). Second aorist active indicative with first aorist vowel α instead of ο as is common in the Koine. This verb αναιρεω, 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 θεος ανεστησεν). 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 θανατου). Codex Bezae has "Hades" instead of death. The LXX has ωδινας θανατου in Psalms 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 ωδινας (birth pangs) we do not know. Early Christian writers interpreted the Resurrection of Christ as a birth out of death. "Loosing" (λυσας) suits better the notion of "snares" held a prisoner by death, but birth pangs do bring deliverance to the mother also.

Because (καθοτ). This old conjunction (κατα, οτ) occurs in the N.T. only in Luke's writings.

That he should be holden (κρατεισθα αυτον). Infinitive present passive with accusative of general reference and subject of ην αδυνατον. The figure goes with "loosed" (λυσας) above.

Verse 25

Concerning him (εις αυτον). Peter interprets Psalms 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 (προορωμην). Imperfect middle without augment of προοραω, 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 προ- is made plainer by "before my face" (ενωπιον μου).

On my right hand (εκ δεξιων μου). The Lord Jehovah like a defender or advocate stands at David's right hand as in trials in court (Psalms 109:31).

That (ινα) here is almost result.

Moved (σαλευθω). First aorist passive subjunctive of σαλευω, to shake like an earthquake.

Verse 26

Was glad (ηυφρανθη). First aorist (timeless here like the Hebrew perfect) passive indicative of ευφραινω (cf. Luke 15:32). Timeless also is "rejoiced" (ηγαλλιασατο).

Shall dwell (κατασκηνωσε). Shall tabernacle, pitch a tent, make one's abode (cf. Matthew 13:32). See on Matthew 8:20 about κατασκηνωσεις (nests)

In hope (επ' ελπιδ). On hope, the hope of the resurrection.

Verse 27

In Hades (εις Hαιδην). 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 εις here=εν is common enough. The Textus Receptus here reads εις Hαιδου (genitive case) like the Attic idiom with δομον (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 ελαν, 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 σου). Peter applies these words to the Messiah.

Corruption (διαφθοραν). The word can mean destruction or putrefaction from διαφθειρω, old word, but in N.T. only here and Acts 13:34-37. The Hebrew word in Acts 2:16 can mean also the pit or the deep.

Verse 28

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

Verse 29

I may say (εξον ειπειν). Supply εστιν before εξον, periphrastic present indicative of εξειμ, to allow, permit. The Authorized Version has "Let me speak," supplying εστο present imperative.

Freely (μετα παρρησιας). Telling it all (παν, ρησια from ειπον, 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 (του πατριαρχου). Transliteration of the word, from πατρια, family, and αρχω, 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 (εταφη). Second aorist passive indicative of θαπτω. His tomb was on Mt. 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 (προιδων). Second aorist active participle. Did it as a prophet.

Of the Christ (του Χριστου). Of the Messiah. See under verse Acts 2:32. This is a definite statement by Peter that David knew that in Acts 2:16 he was describing the resurrection of the Messiah.

Verse 32

This Jesus (τουτον τον Ιησουν). Many of the name "Jesus," but he means the one already called "the Nazarene" (verse Acts 2:22) and foretold as the Messiah in Acts 2:16 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" (verse Acts 2:36). Other terms used of him in the Acts are the Messiah, verse 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 (ου). 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 (τη δεξια του θεου). 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 (τη ελπιδ), saved by hope, in hope, or for hope. Usually it is quite easy to tell the case when the form is identical.

Exalted (υψωθεις). First aorist passive participle of υψοω, 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 αγιου). The promise mentioned in Acts 1:4 and now come true, consisting in the Holy Spirit "from the Father" (παρα του πατρος), sent by the Father and by the Son (John 15:26; John 16:7). See also Galatians 3:14.

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

This which ye see and hear (τουτο ο υμεις κα βλεπετε κα ακουετε). 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 (ου--ανεβη). It is more emphatic than that: For not David ascended into the heavens. Peter quotes Psalms 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 (καθου). Late Koine form for earlier καθησο, present middle imperative second singular of καθημα.

Verse 35

Till I make (εως αν θω). Second aorist active subjunctive of τιθημ with αν after εως 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 (Ασφαλως ουν). Assuredly therefore, without any slip or trip (ασφαλης from α privative and σφαλλω, to trip, to slip. Peter draws a powerfully pungent conclusion by the use of the adverb ασφαλως and the inferential conjunction ουν. Peter's closing sentence drives home the point of his sermon: "This very Jesus whom ye crucified (note υμεις, strongly emphatic

ye ), him God made both Lord and Messiah" (κα κυριον κα Χριστον), as David foretold in Acts 2:110 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 καρδιαν). Second aorist indicative of κατανυσσω, 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 κατανυξις 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? (Τ ποιησωμεν). Deliberative subjunctive first aorist active. The sermon went home, they felt the sting of Peter's words, compunction (χομπυνγο). Codex Bezae adds: "Show us."

Verse 38

Repent ye (μετανοησατε). 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 (κα βαπτισθητω εκαστος υμων). 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 τω ονοματ Ιησου Χριστου). In accordance with the command of Jesus in Matthew 28:19 (εις το ονομα). No distinction is to be insisted on between εις το ονομα and εν τω ονοματ with βαπτιζω since εις and εν are really the same word in origin. In Acts 10:48 εν τω ονοματ Ιησου Χριστου occurs, but εις to ονομα in Acts 8:16; Acts 19:5. The use of ονομα means in the name or with the authority of one as εις ονομα προφητου (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 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 (εις αφεσιν των αμαρτιων υμων). 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 εις does exist as in 1 Corinthians 2:7 εις δοξαν ημων (for our glory). But then another usage exists which is just as good Greek as the use of εις for aim or purpose. It is seen in Matthew 10:41 in three examples εις ονομα προφητου, δικαιου, μαθητου 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 Ιωνα). They repented because of (or at) the preaching of Jonah. The illustrations of both usages are numerous in the N.T. and the Koine 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 πνευματος). The gift consists (Acts 8:17) in the Holy Spirit (genitive of identification).

Verse 39

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

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

To all that are afar off (πασιν τοις εις μακραν. 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 προσκαλεσητα). First aorist middle subjunctive with αν 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 πλειοσιν). Instrumental case. Not necessarily "different" (ετεροις), but "further," showing that Luke does not pretend to give all that Peter said. This idea is also brought out clearly by πλειοσιν ("more," not "many"), more than these given by Luke.

He testified (διεμαρτυρατο). First aorist middle of διαμαρτυρομα, old verb, to make solemn attestation or call to witness (perfective use of δια), while μαρτυρεω 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 (κα παρεκαλε). Imperfect active, kept on exhorting.

Save yourselves (σωθητε). First aorist passive of σωζω. Literally, Be ye saved.

Crooked (σκολιας). Old word, opposite of ορθος, 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 (Hο μεν ουν). 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. Ουν connects with what precedes as the result of Peter's sermon while μεν points forward to what is to follow.

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

There were added (προσετεθησαν). First aorist passive indicative of προστιθημ, 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 (ψυχα). Persons as in verse Acts 2:43.

Verse 42

They continued steadfastly (ησαν προσκαρτυρουντες). Periphrastic active imperfect of προσκαρτυρεω as in Acts 1:14 (same participle in verse Acts 2:46).

Fellowship (κοινωνια). Old word from κοινωνος (partner, sharer in common interest) and this from κοινος 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 κοινωνια in this verse. It may refer to the distribution of funds in verse 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 αγαπαε (love-feasts).

The breaking of bread (τη κλασε του αρτου). The word κλασις is an old word, but used only by Luke in the N.T. (Luke 24:35; Acts 2:42), though the verb κλαω occurs in other parts of the N.T. as in verse 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 κλαω 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 αγαπα 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 τη κλασε του αρτου 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 προσευχαις). Services where they prayed as in Acts 1:14, in the temple (Acts 3:1), in their homes (Acts 4:23).

Verse 43

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

Were done (εγινετο). Same tense. Awe kept on coming on all and signs and wonders kept on coming through the apostles. The two things went on παρ πασσυ, the more wonders the more fear.

Verse 44

Were together (ησαν επ το αυτο). Some MSS. ησαν κα (were and). But they were together in the same place as in Acts 2:1.

And had (κα ειχον). Imperfect active, kept on having, a habit in the present emergency.

Common (κοινα). 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 (επιπρασκον). Imperfect active, a habit or custom from time to time. Old and common verb, πιπρασκω.

Parted (διεμεριζον). Imperfect again of διαμεριζω, old verb for dividing or distributing between (δια) people.

According as any man had need (καθοτ αν τις χρειαν ειχεν). Regular Greek idiom for comparative clause with αν and imperfect indicative corresponding precisely with the three preceding imperfects (Robertson, Grammar, p. 967).

Verse 46

With one accord in the temple (ομοθυμαδον εν τω ιερω). See on Acts 1:14 for ομοθυμαδον. 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' οικον) which looks like the regular meal.

They did take their food (μετελαμβανον τροφης). Imperfect tense again and clearly referring to the regular meals at home. Does it refer also to the possible αγαπα or to the Lord's Supper afterwards as they had common meals "from house to house" (κατ' οικον)? 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" (αφελοτητ) of heart. The word occurs only here in the N.T., though a late Koine word (papyri). It comes from αφελης, free from rock (φελλευς is stony ground), smooth. The old form was αφελεια.

Verse 47

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

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

To them (επ το αυτο). Literally, "together." Why not leave it so? "To the church" (τη εκκλησια) is not genuine. Codex Bezae has "in the church."

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

Copyright Statement
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". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/rwp/acts-2.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.