The Day of Pentecost.
SUMMARY.--The Disciples Gathered Together.
The Baptism of the Spirit.
The Apostles Speak as the Spirit Gives Utterance.
The Gospel Heard in Many Tongues.
The Theory of the Scoffers.
The Prophecy of Joel Fulfilled.
Christ and the Resurrection Preached.
The Jews Convicted of Crucifying the Lord.
The Inquiry of Convicted Sinners.
Three Thousand Baptized.
Continuing in the Apostles' Doctrine.
The Progress of the Church.
1. When the day of Pentecost was fully come. The entire period
between it and the passover, the waiting period of the disciples, was
filled full. Pentecost, one of the three great annual festivals of the
Jews, lasted only one day, was on the fiftieth day from the morrow
after the passover Sabbath
The Savior, crucified on Friday, was in the tomb on the passover
Sabbath, and rose on Sunday, the day from whence the count began. The
Sunday following would be the eighth day, and the fiftieth day would
fall on Sunday, the first day of the eighth week. Hence, the ancient
church observed Pentecost on the first day of the week. For fuller
discussion, see Meyer, Howson and Milligan on this passage. All agree
that Pentecost came on Sunday. Pentecost was the feast of the grain
(Exod. 23:16; 34:22, 23),
and was also held by the Jews to be the anniversary of the giving of
They were all . . . in one place. Not only the apostles, but the
hundred and twenty disciples. They probably had an intimation that the
promised day had come.
2. There came a sound. As this day, the day of the founding of
the church, was to be a day of signs and wonders, the shedding forth of
the Spirit was made perceptible to all. The sound was heard, the
tongues of fire were seen, the word was spoken in many languages.
It filled the house. The mighty sound. At the same time the
disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit, their spirits baptized in
3. There appeared unto them cloven tongues. Luminous tongues sat
on each of them, "parting asunder" (Revision), or "distributing
themselves" (margin). Meyer says that the idea is that they parted and
distributed themselves on those present. These tongues symbolized the
fact that the kingdom now inaugurated was to conquer by the spoken
word, by the sword of the Spirit.
4. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit. All the disciples
present. To be filled implies that the human spirit within was
overwhelmed by, or immersed in, the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the
Spirit was not a sprinkling, but an outpouring that overwhelmed the
Began to speak. This was the "Beginning." See
Luke 24:47 and Acts 11:15.
With other tongues. In the languages of all the different
countries from which Jews had come up to Pentecost. Many would be
unable to understand the Hebrew dialect of Judea in that period, and
hence, they must be preached to in the tongue of their own country if
they understood. That the gospel on this, the first day the Great
Commission was ever preached, was preached in all tongues, symbolized
the fact that it is for all nations.
As the Spirit gave them utterance. They were not allowed to
preach the Great Commission until now, in order that every word uttered
on this day might be the word of the Spirit, not of man. The words were
to be spoken to an audience, not of those in Jerusalem only, but to our
whole race in all time, in order to show how sinners are to be saved
under the gospel.
5. There were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men. Devout
Jews who had come up to the great feast of Pentecost. The Jews were
already scattered in many nations, but foreign Jews were wont to flock
to the great national feasts. Some, too, had come to end their days at
Under heaven. From all quarters of the world. Jews, in foreign
lands, attended Pentecost in larger numbers than the other feasts,
because the time of year favored travel.
6. The multitude came together. Led by the sound (Revised
Version) and the marvellous events.
Speak in his own language. Of the foreign country in which he
had been reared.
7, 8. Are not all these who speak Galileans? Most of the
disciples to this time were. The Galileans were not generally learned
men, yet now all hear, every man his own tongue.
9. Parthians. The long list of nations embraces the various
races embraced in the we of
Parthia was east of the Tigris.
Elam was an ancient name of Persia.
Media, another part of the Medo-Persian empire, east of the
Mesopotamia was the seat of Babylon. These four countries just
named were thickly populated with Jews descended from those carried
into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar.
Cappadocia. A Roman province not far from the Black Sea.
Pontus. A province south and east of the Black Sea.
Asia. The Roman province of which Ephesus was the capital. All
the "seven churches" were in the province called "Asia."
10. Phrygia and Pamphylia. Parts of what is called Asia Minor.
Egypt. The great African province where many ten thousands of Jews
had their home.
Parts of Libya. Of Africa.
About Cyrene. A great Grecian city on the coast west of Egypt.
It is said that one-fourth of the population of Cyrene was Jewish.
Strangers of Rome. Roman Jews sojourning at Jerusalem.
Proselytes. Gentiles who had been converted to Judaism.
11. Cretes. From the island of Crete.
Arabians. Many Jews dwelt in the desert lands south and east of
Palestine, all called generally Arabia.
13. Others mocking. Some were amazed and bewildered; others,
stubbornly skeptical, scoffed and suggested that the speakers were
New wine. More exactly, sweet wine, a wine made by soaking
raisins, pressing out and fermenting the juice, which was very
intoxicating. Most wines of Palestine had very slight intoxicating
14. Peter, standing up. In the name of all the apostles. Jesus
that Peter should receive the keys of the kingdom, and they are now to
be used to open its doors.
With the eleven. Eleven other apostles besides himself. He now
begins the first gospel sermon. He and the apostles now begin their
witness to Christ.
15. These are not drunken. It was only the third hour, nine
o'clock. The Jews at their festivals seldom ate before this hour, and
as their drink was taken at a meal, could not be drunken.
16. This is that which was spoken. He turns to their prophets
for an explanation.
By the prophet Joel. Who lived about 800 B. C. See
17. It shall come to pass in the last days. The phrase "Last
days" was used by the Jews to denote the last dispensation, that of
I will pour out of my Spirit. A figurative expression to
indicate abundant gifts of the Spirit.
On all flesh. On all races, not on the Jews alone.
Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy. "To prophesy" in
the New Testament means to communicate religious truth by divine
authority, as well as to foretell the future. The prophecy was
fulfilled in the inspired speaking on Pentecost and afterwards, as well
as by the daughters of Philip
It will be seen that both sexes are included.
See visions . . . dream dreams. Such visions as that of Peter at
Such dreams as that of Paul at Troas, where he saw the Macedonian
asking him to "Come and help us."
19. I will shew wonders in heaven. Peter not only quotes that
part of the prophecy of Joel which was applicable to the events now
transpiring, but he quotes that part also which pertains to the
calamities coming on the Jewish nation, and to the final judgment.
to apply directly to the overthrow of Judea and Jerusalem.
20. The sun shall be turned into darkness. See notes on
21. Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord, etc. To turn
to the Lord for salvation in his appointed way. It means far more than
simply prayer. He who would call on the name of the Lord for salvation
must do more than say, "Lord, Lord, open unto us."
He must hear and obey
22. Hear these words. Peter now begins to preach Christ directly
to them. He boldly declares that they knew of his miracles, and wonders
and signs. He demonstrates the Messiahship in
1. By the miracles of which they were witnesses. 2. By his
Resurrection, proved (1) by the prophecy of David; (2) by the testimony
of all the apostles present who were witnesses; (3) by the phenomena
then witnessed, which could be only due to his exaltation to the right
hand of God.
23. Being delivered by the determinate counsel. It was the will
of the Father that he should die, and was known to the Father before
his coming. See
Isaiah, chapter 53.
By wicked hands have crucified. By the hands of wicked Romans,
whom they caused to crucify the Lord.
24. Because it was not possible that he should be holden. It was
not possible that Jesus be held by death, because he had life in
himself, and, besides, it was the Father's will that he should arise.
This verse epitomizes the four Gospels.
25-28. David speaketh.
27. Not leave my soul in hell. In hades, the unseen abode
of the dead. The meaning is that he would not remain under the power
David did not speak this of himself, but of the Son of David. See
Thy Holy One. The Lord Jesus. The promised Messiah.
29. He is both dead and buried. David. His sepulchre was in
their midst, within the walls of the city. All his hearers had seen
30. Knowing that God had sworn. God had promised to David that
Christ should sit on his throne. See
2 Sam. 7:11-16;
Psa. 89:3, 4, 35, 37; 132:11.
32. This Jesus hath God raised up. David foretold it; we are all
witnesses of it. There were, including himself, at least twelve
witnesses there who had seen the risen Lord again and again. The next
point is the exaltation of Christ to a heavenly throne.
33. He hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. The
supernatural marvels of this wonderful day were the proof of Christ's
exaltation. He had shed them forth.
34. For. Peter now shows that David had foretold the exaltation
David . . . saith.
(Matt. 22:43, 44)
quotes the same passage and applies it to himself.
The Lord. God, the Father.
My Lord. Christ.
Sit thou on my right hand. See
"To sit at the right hand" implies participation in the Supreme
35. Until I make, etc. When the work of the Mediator is ended
and all conquered to Christ, then all power is given up to the Father.
1 Cor. 15:23-28.
36. Therefore let all the house of Israel know, etc. This is the
grand climax, the conclusion to which the whole discourse had been
37. When they heard this. The conclusion, supported by such
convincing demonstration. Before Peter began to speak they did not
understand the signs; but now it was clear to them that they had
rejected and crucified the Lord.
Pricked in their heart. Convicted of their sins, and pierced
with sorrow. They believed Peter's affirmation; their faith revealed
their sin in rejecting Christ. Overwhelmed with sorrow, they ask,
What shall we do? Is there any way that such sinners can be
38. Repent, and be baptized. For the first time the terms of
pardon under the New Covenant and the Great Commission are given; given
once for all time, and always the same. The convicted, broken-hearted,
sorrowing sinner, believing that Jesus is the Christ, is to repent and
Repent. Not sorrow. They already sorrowed; but a change of
purpose; the internal change which resolves to serve the Lord. The
rendered repent, means a change of mind. The act of obedience in
baptism is an outward expression of both faith and repentance.
In the name of Jesus Christ. "Upon the name" (Revised Version).
Upon the ground of the name. In submission to the authority of Jesus
For the remission of sins. Thus, by complying with the
conditions just named, they shall receive remission of sins. No man can
receive pardon without faith and repentance, nor can he without
submission to the will of Christ. "Eis (for) denotes the
object of baptism, which is the remission of the guilt
contracted in the state before metanoia
(repentance)."--Meyer. "In order to the forgiveness of
sins we connect naturally with both the preceding verbs. This
clause states the motive or object which should induce them to repent
and be baptized."--Prof. Hackett.
The gift of the Holy Spirit. Promised as a comforter to all who
obey Christ, but whom "the world cannot receive."
39. For the promise. Of pardon, and the gift of the Spirit.
Unto you. Even unto those who rejected the Lord.
To your children. Your children after you.
To all that are afar off. To the Gentiles. That he refers to the
Gentiles is shown in the next clause,
even as many as the Lord our God shall call. Peter spake as the
Spirit gave him utterance, and perhaps did not fully comprehend his own
40. Save yourselves. This was the object of the "many other
words." They could "save themselves" by complying with the conditions
and thus accepting Christ as their Savior.
From this untoward generation. The wicked Jewish race.
41. They that gladly received his word. Every believing penitent
would gladly receive it.
Were baptized. Not indefinitely in the future, but that day.
The same day there were added about three thousand souls. "It is
proper to add that pools numerous and large which encircled Jerusalem,
as both those still in use, and as the remains of others testify of at
the present day, afforded ample means for the celebration of the rite
of baptism. The habits of the East, as every traveler knows, would
present no obstacle to such a use of the public
reservoirs."--Hackett, Commentary on Acts. It has been objected
to the immersion of the three thousand that the apostles could not have
done it in one day. We are not told that the apostles only were the
baptists, or even baptized at all. There were at least 120
disciples there; perhaps even more on this great day. Perhaps the
Seventy were all there. But the apostles alone could have discharged
the office. There would be 250 to each one. Sixty persons have been
immersed easily in an hour by one person. At this rate the whole work
could have been accomplished by twelve men in about four hours. The
celebrated Chrysostom, aided by his elders, baptized (immersed) 3,000
in a day in A. D. 404.
42. They continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine. In the
things taught by the apostles.
And fellowship. Contribution to the common fund and its
The breaking of bread. The Lord's supper. From this time it is
observed as an ordinance of the church.
In prayers. I think the prayers of the regular worship are
meant. These four items are all features of the public church life.
43. Fear came upon every soul. Of the unbelievers.
44. Had all things common. Many, perhaps most, were sojourners
at, not citizens of, Jerusalem. It was needful that they remain
together for the time, and while sojourning here, they threw their
common funds together. Alford says: "In order, however, rightly to
understand this community, we may remark,
It is only found in the Church at Jerusalem. No trace of its
existence is discoverable anywhere else; on the contrary, St. Paul
speaks constantly of the rich and poor. See
Tim. 6:17; Gal. 2:10; 2 Cor. 8:13, 15; 9:6,7; 1 Cor. 16:2; also James 2:1-5; 4:13."
45. Sold their possessions. Real estate.
Goods. Personal property.
Parted them to all men. On this special liberality we may note,
(1) It partly arose from the non-resident or pilgrim character of a
large part of the converts. (2) It was not an obligatory rule; the laws
of ownership or property were not disturbed or questioned. Even Ananias
might have kept all his land unblamed,
46. Continuing daily . . . in the temple. They gathered there
for the purpose of teaching the multitudes.
Breaking bread from house to house. Eating their food from house
to house. It may refer to observing the Lord's Supper in private
47. The Lord added to the church. This is the first time the
church is named as existing. It had been founded on Pentecost.
Such as should be saved. "Those being saved" (Revised Version).
Those being saved on the conditions that the Gospel imposes the Lord
added to his church.