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Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

Acts 2

Verse 1

Was fully come [συμπληρουσθαι] . Used by Luke only. See on Luke 9:51. Lit., as Rev., margin, was being fulfilled. The day, according to the Hebrew mode, is conceived as a measure to be filled up. So long as the day had not yet arrived, the measure was not full. The words denote in process of fulfillment.

Pentecost. Meaning fiftieth; because occurring on the fiftieth day, calculated from the second day of unleavened bread. In the Old Testament it is called the feast of weeks, and the feast of harvest. Its primary object was to thank God for the blessings of harvest. See Deuteronomy 16:10, Deuteronomy 16:11.

With one accord [ομοθυμαδον] . The best texts substitute oJmou, together. So Rev.

Verse 2

A sound [ηχος] . See on Luke 4:37.

Of a rushing mighty wind [φερομενης πνοης βιαιας] . Lit., of a mighty wind born along. Pnoh is a blowing, a blast. Only here and ch. 27 25. Rev., as of the rushing of a mighty wind.

The house. Not merely the room. Compare ch. 1 13.

Were sitting. Awaiting the hour of prayer. See ver. 15.

Verse 3

There appeared. See on Luke 22:43.

Cloven tongues [διαμεριζομεναι γλωσσαι] . Many prefer to render tongues distributing themselves, or being distributed among the disciples, instead of referring it to the cloven appearance of each tongue. Rev., tongues parting asunder.

Like as of fire. Not consisting of fire, but resembling [ωσει] .

It sat. Note the singular. One of these luminous appearances sat upon each.

Verse 4

Began. Bringing into prominence the first impulse of the act. See on began, ch. 1 1.

With other tongues [ετεραις γλωσσαις] . Strictly different, from their native tongues, and also different tongues spoken by the different apostles. See on Matthew 6:24.

Gave [εδιου] . A graphic imperfect; kept giving them the language and the appropriate words as the case required from time to time. It would seem that each apostle was speaking to a group, or to individuals. The general address to the multitude followed from the lips of Peter.

Utterance [αποφθεγγεσθαι] . Used only by Luke and in the Acts. Lit., to utter. A peculiar word, and purposely chosen to denote the clear, loud utterance under the miraculous impulse. It is used by later Greek writers of the utterances of oracles or seers. So in the Septuagint, of prophesying. See 1 Chronicles 25:1; Deuteronomy 32:2; Zechariah 10:2; Ezekiel 13:19.

Verse 5

Dwelling [κατοικουντες] . Denoting an abiding; but here it must be taken in a wide sense, since among these are mentioned those whose permanent residence was in Mesopotamia, etc. See ver. 9.

Devout. See on Luke 2:25.

Verse 6

When this was noised abroad [γενομενης δε της φωνης τευτης] . Wrong. Lit., And this sound having taken place. Rev., correctly, when this sound was heard. The sound of the rushing wind.

Were confounded [συνεχυθη] . Lit., was poured together; so that confound (Latin, confundere) is the most literal rendering possible. Used only by Luke and in the Acts. Compare Acts 19:32; Acts 21:31.

Heard [ηκουον] . Imperfect, were hearing.

Language [διαλεκτω] . Rather, dialect; since the foreigners present spoke, not only different languages, but different dialects of the same language. The Phrygians and Pamphylians, for instance, both spoke Greek, but in different idioms; the Parthians, Medes, and Elamites all spoke Persian, but in different provincial forms.

Verse 7

Amazed and marvelled [εξισταντο και εθαυμαζον] . The former word denotes the first overwhelming surprise. The verb is literally to put out of place; hence, out of one's senses. Compare Mark 3:21 : "He is beside himself." The latter word, marvelled, denotes the continuing wonder; meaning to regard with amazement, and with a suggestion of beginning to speculate on the matter.

Galilaeans. Not regarded as a sect, for the name was not given to Christians until afterward; but with reference to their nationality. They used a peculiar dialect, which distinguished them from the inhabitants of Judaea. Compare Mark 14:70. They were blamed for neglecting the study of their language, and charged with errors in grammar and ridiculous mispronunciations.

Verse 9

Parthians, Medes, and Elamites. Representing portions of the Persian empire.

Judaea. The dialect of Galilee being different from that of Judaea. Asia. Not the Asiatic continent nor Asia Minor. In the time of the apostles the term was commonly understood of the proconsular province of Asia, principally of the kingdom of Pergamus left by Attalus 3 to the Romans, and including Lydia, Mysia, Caria, and at times parts of Phrygia. The name Asia Minor did not come into use until the fourth century of our era.

Verse 10

Egypt. Where the Jews were numerous. Two - fifths of the population of Alexandria were said to have been Jews.

Cyrene. In Libya, west of Egypt.

Strangers [επιδημουντες] . See on 1 Peter 1:1. Rev., rightly, sojourners.

Verse 11

Arabians. Whose country bordered on Judaea, and must have contained many Jews.

Speak [λαλουντων] . Rev., rightly, gives the force of the participle, speaking.

Wonderful works [μεγαλεια] . See on majesty, 2 Peter 1:16. From megav, great. Rev., mighty works. Used by Luke only.

Verse 12

Were in doubt [διηπορουν] . Used by Luke only. See on Luke 9:7. Better, as Rev., perplexed.

Verse 13

Others [ετεροι] . Of a different class. The first who commented on the wonder did so curiously, but with no prejudice. Those who now spoke did so in a hostile spirit. See on ver. 4.

Mocking (diacleuazontev; so the best texts). From cleuh, a joke. Only here in New Testament.

New wine [γλευκους] . Lit., "sweet wine." Of course intoxicating.

Verse 14

Standing up [σταθεις] . See on Luke 18:11; Luke 19:9.

Said [απεφθεγξατο] . See on ver. 4 Better, rev., spake forth. "This most solemn, earnest, yet sober speech" (Bengel).

Hearken [ενωτισασθε] . Only here in New Testament. From ejn, in; and ouv, the ear. Rev., give ear.

Words [ρηματα] . See on Luke 1:37.

Verse 15

Third hour. Nine in the morning : the hour of morning prayer.

Compare 1 Thessalonians 5:7.

Verse 17

All flesh. Without distinction of age, sex, or condition.

Visions [ορασεις] . Waking visions.

Dream dreams [ενυπνια ενυπνιασθησονται] . The best texts read ejnupnioiv, with dreams. The verb occurs only here and Jude 1:8. The reference is to visions in sleep.

Verse 19

I will shew [δωσω] . Lit., I will give.

Wonders [τερατα] . Or portents. See on Matthew 11:20.

Signs. See on Matthew 11:20.

Verse 20

That great and notable day of the Lord come. The Rev. heightens the emphasis by following the Greek order, the day of the Lord, that great and notable day. Notable [επιφανη] only here in New Testament. The kindred noun ejpifaneia, appearing (compare our word Epiphany), is often used of the second coming of the Lord. See 1 Timothy 6:14; 2 Timothy 4:1; Titus 2:13.

Verse 22

Approved [αποδεδειγμενον] . The verb means to point out or shew forth. Shewn to be that which he claimed to be.

Miracles [δυναμεσι] . Better, Rev., mighty works. Lit., powers. See on Matthew 11:20.

Verse 23

Being delivered [εκδοτον] . An adjective : given forth, betrayed.

Ye have taken. The best texts omit.

Wicked hands. The best texts read by the hand of lawless men.

Crucified [προσπηζαντες] . Only here in New Testament. The verb simply means to affix to or on anything. The idea of the cross is left to be supplied.

Have slain [ανειλετε] . See on Luke 23:32. Rev., rendering the aorist more closely, did slay.

Verse 24

Pains [ωδινας] . The meaning is disputed. Some claim that Peter followed the Septuagint mistranslation of Psalms 18:5, where the Hebrew word for snares is rendered by the word used here, pains; and that, therefore, it should be rendered snares of death; the figure being that of escape from the snare of a huntsman. Others suppose that death is represented in travail, the birth - pangs ceasing with the delivery; i e., the resurrection. This seems to be far - fetched, though it is true that in classical Greek the word is used commonly of birth - throes. It is better, perhaps, on the whole, to take the expression in the sense of the A. V., and to make the pains of death stand for death generally.

Verse 25

I foresaw [προωρωμην] . Not to see beforehand, but to see before one's self, as in Psalms 16:8.

I should not be moved [μη σαλευθω] . Or be shaken. Generally so rendered in the New Testament. See Matthew 11:7; Matthew 24:29; Hebrews 12:26, etc.

Verse 26

Rejoiced [ηγαλλιασατο] . Rev., was glad. See on 1 Peter 1:6.

Shall rest [κατασκηνωσει] . See on nests, Matthew 8:20. Better, as Rev., dwell. Lit., dwell in a tent or tabernacle. Rendered lodge, Matthew 8:32; Mark 4:32; Luke 8:19. It is a beautiful metaphor. My flesh shall encamp on hope; pitch its tent there to rest through the night of death, until the morning of resurrection.

In hope [επ ελπισι] . Lit., on hope : resting on the hope of resurrection; his body being poetically conceived as hoping.

Verse 27

Leave [εγκαταλειψεις] . Lit., leave behind.

Suffer [δωσεις] . Lit., give.

Verse 29

Let me speak [εξον ειπειν] . Lit., it is permitted me. Rev., I may. It is allowable for him to speak, because the facts are notorious.

Freely [μετα παρρησιας] . Lit., with freedom. The latter word from pan, all, and rJhsiv, speech; speaking everything, and therefore without reserve. The patriarch [πατριαρχου] . From arcw, to begin, and patria, a pedigree. Applied to David as the father of the royal family from which the Messiah sprang. It is used in the New Testament of Abraham (Hebrews 7:4), and of the sons of Jacob (Acts 7:8).

He is dead and buried [ετελευτησε και εταφη] . Aorists, denoting what occurred at a definite past time. Rev., rightly, he both died and was buried. His sepulchre is with us. Or among us [εν ημιν] . On Mount Zion, where most of the Jewish kings were interred in the same tomb.

Verse 30

According to the flesh, he would raise up Christ. The best texts omit. Render as Rev., he would set one upon his throne.

Verse 34

Is not ascended [ου ανεβη] . Aorist, did not ascend.

Verse 35

Thy footstool. A. V. omits of thy feet.

Verse 36

Assuredly [ασφαλως] . From aj, not, and sfallw, to cause to fall. Hence, firmly, steadfastly.

Verse 37

They were pricked [κατενυγησαν] . Only here in New Testament. The word does not occur in profane Greek. It is found in the Septuagint, as Genesis 34:7, of the grief of the sons of Jacob at the dishonor of Dinah. See, also, Psalms 109:0. (LXX 108) Psalms 109:16 "broken in heart." The kindred noun katanuxiv occurs Romans 11:8, in the sense of slumber (Rev., stupor). Compare Isaiah 29:10. See, also, Psalms 60:0 (LXX 59) Psalms 60:3 oinon katanuxewv, the wine of astonishment (Rev., wine of staggering). The radical idea of the word is given in the simple verb nussw, to prick with a sharp point. So Homer, of the puncture of a spear; of horses dinting the earth with their hoofs, etc. Here, therefore, of the sharp, painful emotion, the sting produced by Peter's words. Cicero, speaking of the oratory of Pericles, says that his speech left stings in the minds of his hearers (" De Oratore, " 3, 34.

Verse 38

Repent. See on Matthew 3:2.

In the name [επι τω ονοματι] . Lit., upon the name. See on Matthew 28:19.

Remission. See on Luke 3:3; James 5:15.

Verse 39

Afar off [εις μακραν] . Lit., unto a long way. Referring probably to the Gentiles, who are described by this phrase both in the Old and New Testaments. See Zechariah 6:15; Ephesians 2:11-13. Peter knew the fact that the Gentiles were to be received into the Church, but not the mode. He expected they would become Christians through the medium of the Jewish religion. It was already revealed in the Old Testament that they should be received, and Christ himself had commanded the apostles to preach to all nations.

Shall call [προσκαλεσηται] . Rev. gives the force of prov, to : "shall call unto him."

Verse 40

Other [ετεροις] . And various.

Did he testify [διεμαρτυρετο] . The preposition dia gives the force of solemnly, earnestly.

Save yourselves [σωθητε] . More strictly, be ye saved.

Untoward [σκολιας] . Lit., crooked. Toward in earlier English meant docile, apt. The opposite is froward (fromward). So Shakespeare :

"'Tis a good hearing when children are toward, But a harsh hearing when women are froward." Taming of the Shrew, 5, 2.

"Spoken like a toward prince."

3 Henry VI, 2, 2.

Untoward, therefore, meant intractable, perverse. So Shakespeare :

"What means this scorn, thou most untoward knave?" K. John, 1, 1.

"And if she be froward, Then hast thou taught Horensio to be untoward." Taming of the Shrew, 4, 5.

Compare Deuteronomy 32:5.

Verse 42

Continued steadfastly. See on ch. Acts 1:14.

Doctrine [διδαχη] . Better, teaching.

Fellowship [κοινωνια] . From koinov, common. A relation between individuals which involves a common interest and a mutual, active participation in that interest and in each other. The word answers to the Latin communio, from communis, common. Hence, sometimes rendered communion, as 1 Corinthians 10:16; 1 Corinthians 9:0 Corinthians 1 Corinthians 13:14. Fellowship is the most common rendering. Thus Philippians 1:5 : "your fellowship in the gospel," signifying co - operation in the widest sense; participation in sympathy, suffering, and labor. Compare 1 John 1:3, 1 John 1:6, 1 John 1:7. Occasionally it is used to express the particular form which the spirit of fellowship assumes; as in Romans 14:26; Hebrews 13:16, where it signifies the giving of alms, but always with an emphasis upon the principle of Christian fellowship which underlies the gift.

Breaking [κλασει] . Used by Luke only, and only in the phrase breaking of bread. The kindred verb klazw or klaw, to break, occurs often, but, like the noun, only of breaking bread. Hence used to designate the celebration of the Lord 's Supper.

Prayers [προσευχαις] . Always of prayer to God. Compare on dehseiv, prayers, Luke 5:33; and besought, Luke 8:38.

Verse 43

Fear [φοβος] . Not terror, but reverential awe : as Mark 4:41; Luke 7:16; 1 Peter 1:17, etc.

Verse 44

Common [κοινα] . Compare fellowship, ver. 42.

Verse 45

Possessions [κτηματα] . Landed property.

Goods [υπαρξεις] . Possessions in general; movables.

Verse 46

With one accord [ομοθυμαδον] . See on Matthew 18:19.

From house to house [κατ οικον] . Better, as Rev., at home, contrasted with in the temple. Compare Philippians 1:2; Colossians 4:15; 1 Corinthians 16:19.

Did eat their meat [μετελαμβανον τροφης] . Rev., take their food. Partake would be better, giving the force of meta, with. Note the imperfect : "continued to partake."

Singleness [αφελοτητι] . Only here in New Testament. Derived from aj, not, and felleuv, stony ground. Hence of something simple or plain.

Verse 47

Added [προσετιθει] . Imperfect : kept adding.

Such as should be saved [τους σωζομενους] . Lit., as Rev., those that were being saved. The rendering of the A. V. would require the verb to be in the future, whereas it is the present participle. Compare 1 Corinthians 1:18. Salvation is a thing of the present, as well as of the past and future. The verb is used in all these senses in the New Testament. Thus, we were saved (not are, as A. V.), Romans 8:24; shall or shalt be saved, Romans 10:9, Romans 10:13; ye are being saved, 1 Corinthians 14:2. "Godliness, righteousness, is life, is salvation. And it is hardly necessary to say that the divorce of morality and religion must be fostered and encouraged by failing to note this, and so laying the whole stress either on the past or on the future - on the first call, or on the final change. It is, therefore, important that the idea of salvation as a rescue from sin, through the knowledge of God in Christ, and therefore a progressive condition, a present state, should not be obscured, and we can but regret such a translation as Acts 2:47, 'The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved, ' where the Greek implies a different idea" (Lightfoot, " on a Fresh Revision of the New Testament ").

To the church. See on Matthew 16:18.

Copyright Statement
The text of this work is public domain.
Bibliographical Information
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Acts 2". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/vnt/acts-2.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.