Bible Commentaries

Vincent's Word Studies

Acts 2

Verse 1

Was fully come ( συμπληροῦσθαι )

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 fulfilment.


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 ( ὁμοθυμαδὸν )

The best texts substitute ὁμοῦ , together. So Rev.

Verse 2

A sound ( ἦχος )

See on Luke 4:37.

Of a rushing mighty wind ( φερομένης πνοῆς βιαίας )

Lit., of a mighty wind borne along. Πνοή is a blowing, a blast. Only here and Acts 17:25. Rev., as of the rushing of a mighty wind.

The house

Not merely the room. Compare Acts 1:13.

Were sitting

Awaiting the hour of prayer. See Acts 2:15.

Verse 3

There appeared

See on Luke 22:43.

Cloven tongues ( διαμεριζόμεναι γλῶσσαι )

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 off fire, but resembliny ( ὡσεὶ )It sat

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

Verse 4


Bringing into prominence the first impulse of the act. See on began, Acts 1:1.

With other tongues ( ἑτέραις γλώσσαις )

Strictly different, from their native tongues, and also different tongues spoken by the different apostles. See on Matthew 6:24.

Gave ( ἐδίδου )

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 ( ἀποφθέγγεσθαι )

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 ( κατοικοῦντες )

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 Acts 2:9.


See on Luke 2:25.

Verse 6

When this was noised abroad ( γενομένης δὲ τῆς φωνῆς ταύτης )

Wrong. Lit., And this sound having taken place. Rev., correctly, when this sound was heard. The sound of the rushing wind.

Were confounded ( συνεχύθη )

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 ( ἤκουον )

Imperfect,were hearing.

Language ( διαλέκτῳ )

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 ( ἐξίσταντο καὶ ἐθαύμαζον )

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.


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.


The dialect of Galilee being different from that of Judaea.


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 III. 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


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


In Libya, west of Egypt.

Strangers ( ἐπιδημοῦντες )

See on 1 Peter 1:1. Rev., rightly,sojourners.

Verse 11


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

Speak ( λαλούντων )

Rev., rightly, gives the force of the participle, speaking.

Wonderful works ( μεγαλεῖα )

See on majesty, 2 Peter 1:16. From μέγας great. Rev., mighty works. Used by Luke only.

Verse 12

Were in doubt ( διηπόρουν )

Used by Luke only. See on Luke 9:7. Better, as Rev., perplexed.

Verse 13

Others ( ἕτεροι )

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 Acts 2:4.

Mocking ( διαχλευάζοντες ; so the best texts)

From χλεύη , a joke. Only here in New Testament.

New wine ( γλεύκους )

Lit., “sweet wine.” Of course intoxicating.

Verse 14

Standing up ( σταθεὶς )

See on Luke 18:11; and Luke 19:8.

Said ( ἀπεφθέγξατο )

See on Acts 2:4. Better, Rev., spake forth. “This most solemn, earnest, yet sober speech” (Bengel).

Hearken ( ἐνωτίσασθε )

Only here in New Testament. From ἐν , in; and οὖς the ear. Rev., give ear.

Words ( ῥήματα )

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 ( ὁράσεις )

Waking visions.

Dream dreams ( ἐνύπνια ἐνυπνιασθήσονται )

The best texts read ἐνυπνίοις , with dreams. The verb occurs only here and Judges 1:8. The reference is to visions in sleep.

Verse 19

I will shew ( δώσω )

Lit., I will give.

Wonders ( τέρατα )

Or portents. See on Matthew 11:20.


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 ( ἐπιφανῆ ) only here in New Testament. The kindred noun ἐπιφάνεια , 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 ( ἀποδεδειγμένον )

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

Miracles ( δυνάμεσι )

Better, Rev., mighty works. Lit., powers. See on Matthew 11:20.

Verse 23

Being delivered ( ἔκδοτον )

An adjective: given forth,betrayed.

Ye have taken

The best texts omit.

Wicked hands

The best texts read by the hand of lawless

Crucified ( προσπήξαντες )

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 ( ἀνείλετε )

See on Luke 23:32. Rev., rendering the aorist more closely, did slay.

Verse 24

Pains ( ὠδῖνας )

The meaning is disputed. Some claim that Peter followed the Septuagint mistranslation of Psalm 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 ( προωρώμην )

Not to see beforehand, but to see before one's self, as in Psalm 16:8.

I should not be moved ( μὴ σαλευθῶ )

Or be shaken. Generally so rendered in the New Testament. See Matthew 11:7; Matthew 24:29; Hebrews 12:26, etc.

Verse 26

Rejoiced ( ἠγαλλιάσατο )

Rev., was glad. See on 1 Peter 1:6.

Shall rest ( κατασκηνώσει )

See on nests, Matthew 8:20. Better, as Rev., dwell. Lit., dwell in a tent or tabernacle. Rendered lodge, Matthew 13:32; Mark 4:32; Luke 13:19. 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 ( ἐπ ' ἐλπίδι )

Lit., on hope: resting on the hope of resurrection; his body being poetically conceived as hoping.

Verse 27

Leave ( ἐγκαταλείψεις )

Lit., leave behind.

Suffer ( δώσεις )

Lit., give.

Verse 29

Let me speak ( ἐξὸν εἰπεῖν )

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

Freely ( μετὰ παῤῥησίας )

Lit., with freedom. The latter word from πᾶν , all, and ῥῆσις , speech; speaking everything, and therefore without reserve.

The patriarch ( πατριάρχου )

From ἄρχω , to begin, and πατριά , 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 ( ἐτελεύτησε καὶ ἐτάφη )

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 ( ἐν ἡμῖν ). 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 ( οὐ ἀνέβη )

Aorist, did not ascend.

Verse 35

Thy footstool

A.V. omits of thy feet.

Verse 36

Assuredly ( ἀσφαλῶς )

From ἀ , not, and σφάλλω , to cause to fall. Hence, firmly, steadfastly.

Verse 37

They were pricked ( κατενύγησαν )

Only here in New Testament. The word does not occur in profane Greek. It is found in the Septuagint, as Psalm href="/desk/?q=ps+109:16&sr=1">Psalm 109:16(Sept. 108) Psalm 109:16: “broken in heart.” The kindred noun κατάνυξις occurs Romans 11:8, in the sense of slumber (Rev., stupor )Compare Isaiah 29:10. See, also, Psalm 60:3. (Sept. 59) Psalm 60:3: οἶνον κατανύξεως , the wine of astonishment (Rev., wine of staggering )The radical idea of the word is given in the simple verb νύσσω , 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,” iii., 34.)

Verse 38


See on Matthew 3:2.

In the name ( ἐπὶ τῷ ὀνόματι )

Lit., upon the name. See on Matthew 28:19.


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

Verse 39

Afar off ( εἰς μακρὰν )

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 thefact 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 ( προσκαλέσηται )

Rev. gives the force of πρός , to: “shall call unto him.

Verse 40

Other ( ἑτέροις )

And various.

Did he testify ( διεμαρτύρετο )

The preposition διά gives the force of solemnly, earnestly.

Save yourselves ( σώθητε )

More strictly, be ye saved.

Untoward ( σκολιᾶς )

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

“'Tis a good hearing when children are toward,

But a harsh hearing when women are froward.

Taming of the Shrew, v., 2.

“Spoken like a toward prince.”

3 Henry VI., ii., 2.

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

“What means this scorn, thou most untoward knave?”

K. John, i, 1.

“And if she be froward,

Then hast thou taught Hortensio to be untoward.”

Taming of the Shrew, iv., 5.

Compare Deuteronomy 32:5.

Verse 42

Continued steadfastly

See on Acts 1:14.

Doctrine ( διδαχῇ )

Better, teaching.

Fellowship ( κοινωνίᾳ )

From κοινός , 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; 2 Corinthians 13:14. Fellowship is the most common rendering. Thus Philemon 1:5: “your fellowship in the gospel,” signifying co-operation in the widest senseparticipation 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 15:26; 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 ( κλάσει )

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

Prayers ( προσευχαῖς )

Always of prayer to God. Compare on δεήσεις , prayers, Luke 5:33; and besought, Luke 8:38.

Verse 43

Fear ( φόβος )

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

Verse 44

Common ( κοινὰ )

Comparefellowship, Acts 2:42.

Verse 45

Possessions ( κτήματα )

Landed property.

Goods ( ὑπάρξεις )

Possessions in general; movables.

Verse 46

With one accord ( ὁμοθυμαδὸν )

See on Matthew 18:19.

From house to house ( κατ ' οἶκον )

Better, as Rev., at home, contrasted with in the temple. Compare Philemon 1:2; Colossians 4:15; 1 Corinthians 16:19.

Did eat their meat ( μετελάμβανον τροφῆς )

Rev., take their food. Partake would be better, giving the force of μετά , with. Note the imperfect: “continued to partake.”

Singleness ( ἀφελότητι )

Only here in New Testament. Derived from ἀ , not, and φελλεύς , stony ground. Hence of something simple or plain.

Verse 47

Added ( προσετίθει )

Imperfect: kept adding.

Such as should be saved ( τοὺς σωζομένους )

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 15:2. “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". Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.