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The Gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2)

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“You shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38)

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Acts 2

The Holy Spirit is given
And when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like the rushing of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues like fire, separating and resting upon each one of them personally. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and began to speak with other languages, as the Spirit gave them to speak.
   5 Now there were dwelling at Jerusalem devout men, Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the crowds came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying: Look, are not all those who speak Galileans? 8 And how is it each of us heard in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, in Judea and Cappadocia, in Pontus and Asia, 10 in Phrygia and Pamphylia, in Egypt and the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and sojourners from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabians, we hear them speaking in our language the mighty works of God. 12 And they were all amazed and were perplexed, saying to each other: What does this mean? 13 But others mocking said: They are filled with new wine!
   14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: You men of Judea and all that dwell in Jerusalem, let this be understood by you, and listen to my words. 15 These are not drunk as you suppose, seeing it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is the fulfilment of that which has been spoken through the prophet Joel: 17 And it shall be in the last days, says God, I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams. 18 Yes, and in those days will I pour out My Spirit on My servants and on My handmaids, and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show wonders in the heaven above, and signs on the earth beneath: blood and fire and vapour of smoke. 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness and the moon into blood, before the day of the Lord comes, that great and notable day. 21 And it shall be that whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Peter preaches about Jesus from the Old Testament
   22 You men of Israel, hear these words. Jesus of Nazareth was a man attested to you by God, by mighty works and wonders and signs which God did through him in the midst of you, even as you yourselves know. 23 Him, being delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you, by the hand of men outside the Law, did crucify and slay; 24 whom God raised up, having loosened the pangs of death; because it was not possible that he should be held by it.
   25 For David said concerning him: I saw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved. 26 Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue rejoiced, moreover my flesh also shall dwell in hope; 27 because You will not leave my soul in the grave, neither will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. 28 You made known to me the ways of life, you shall make me full of gladness with Your countenance.
   29 Brothers, I may say to you freely about the patriarch David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body he would set one upon his throne; 31 he foreseeing this, spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that neither was he left in the grave, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus did God raise up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore, being exalted by the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this which you see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend into Heaven, but he himself said: The Lord said to my Lord, sit on My right hand, 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet. 36 Therefore, let all the house of Israel know for certain, that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.

3000 people are baptized
   37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart; and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles: Brothers, what shall we do? 38 And Peter said to them: Every one of you should repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ to the remission of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For to you is the promise, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, as many as the Lord our God shall call to him.
   40 And with many other words he testified and encouraged them, saying: Save yourselves from this crooked generation. 41 They that received his word were baptized, and there were added in that day about three thousand people.
   42 And they continued earnestly in the apostles' teaching and fellowship in the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And fear came upon everyone; and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 And all that believed were together and had all things common. 45 And they sold their possessions and goods, and distributed the proceeds to all, as anyone had need. 46 And day by day, continuing earnestly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart, 47 praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to them daily those who were being saved.


2:4 Languages- Some translations say “tongues”. Acts 2 shows that ‘speaking in tongues’ means ‘speaking in another language’- a human language which was understood by the people hearing it. It doesn’t refer to speaking ‘mumbo jumbo’, unintelligible utterances. Therefore the listeners were amazed that they heard “each in his own native language” (v. 8), “in our language” (v. 11).

2:17 The last days- This phrase refers to both the ‘last days’ of the Jewish state in the run up to the AD70 destruction of the temple, and it can also refer to the ‘last days’ around the return of Christ to earth. The miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit will be used to re-establish God’s Kingdom on earth- they are “the powers of the age to come” (Heb. 6:5); they aren’t possessed today. They will be given to us when Jesus returns.

2:22 A man- Even after His ascension to Heaven, Peter and Paul still refer to Jesus as a “man” (1 Tim. 2:5). 2:23 Lawless men¬- The Romans, who were not under the Law of Moses. We cannot get others to do our ‘dirty work’ for us and still be innocent. We are judged according to our intentions more than our literal actions.

2:27 Hades- Translated “hell” in some Bibles. ‘Hell’ or hades is simply the grave. Jesus went to the grave for three days and was resurrected by God from it. Therefore hades / hell / the grave isn’t a place of eternal punishment for wicked people.

2:34 David didn’t go to Heaven when he died; instead his hope was in the coming of the Messiah, his great descendant, Jesus- who would raise David from the dead. The Biblical hope is the resurrection from the dead when Jesus returns, and eternal life in God’s promised Kingdom on earth. The idea of a soul going to Heaven on death isn’t Biblical.

2:36 God made Jesus Lord- showing His difference to and superiority over Jesus.

2:41 Baptism is the natural sign that we have accepted the word of the Gospel.

2:42 The Greek can be read as “Fellowship in the breaking of bread”. Believing what the apostles did, praying together and breaking bread together are all signs of our fellowship. Fellowship isn’t limited to just breaking bread together.