Translations: 简体中文 繁體中文

Acts 2:1-13 (web)

Pentecost I


2:1 Now when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all with one accord in one place. 
2:2 Suddenly there came from the sky a sound like the rushing of a mighty wind,
and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 
2:3 Tongues like fire appeared and were distributed to them, and one sat on each of them. 
2:4 They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages,
as the Spirit gave them the ability to speak. 

2:5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under the sky. 
2:6 When this sound was heard, the multitude came together,
and were bewildered, because everyone heard them speaking in his own language. 
2:7 They were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, 
"Behold, aren't all these who speak Galileans? 
2:8 How do we hear, everyone in our own native language? 
2:9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, 
2:10 Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, the parts of Libya around Cyrene, 
visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 
2:11 Cretans and Arabians: we hear them speaking in our languages the mighty works of God!" 
2:12 They were all amazed, and were perplexed, saying one to another, "What does this mean?" 
2:13 Others, mocking, said, "They are filled with new wine." 


The Jewish Pentecost

Pentecost is a Jewish festival so ordained in the Law of Moses. It was on of the three major feasts for which all males of Israel were required to travel to the Temple in Jerusalem. (Ex. 23:14-19) And for this reason we find such international diversity in Jerusalem at this time. It was also called the Festival of Weeks. "Celebrate the Feast of Weeks to the LORD your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the LORD your God has given you." Deut 16:10 It occurred 50 days after the Passover (when the Lord also had been crucified)  It was a harvest celebration, and as such we might view the Pentecost of Acts 2 as a sort of Firstfruits from the reaping of gospel. It was the start of the Church.

Speaking in Tongues

Although in 1:5 Jesus referred to this as being baptized with the Holy Spirit, here we don't see that expression but rather the expression "filled with the Holy Ghost" (kjv) which is an effect of being baptized with the Holy Spirit. The filling is indicated by outward expressions. In this case the Spirit manifested itself by giving the ability to speak in foreign languages ordinarily unknown to the speakers. There are of course many other ways in which the Spirit can manifest itself, but it chose to do so in this manner at this time.

In Genesis was saw that when men were united against God in building the tower of Babel that God divided them by imparting to them a diversity of languages. But here we see when men are united with God that God brings unity even symbolically through a common understanding of language.

Furthermore we might infer that God's Word needs to be communicated in the language of the people. I applaud the efforts of Wycliffe and other such organizations devoted to such an effort. And it is even with reluctance that I have to use the KJV when quoting large sections of scripture because of copyright restrictions. For the KJV being archaic and a majestic language is often difficult to understand, especially for non-native speakers.

God chose Galileans, ordinary uneducated people. But if you read over-educated writers - higher theologians and such - it is often difficult to understand what they are saying. (OK, I'm guilty of that at times!) The Bible is actually pretty easy to understand. And it was meant to be so.

The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Apr 17,2023