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Acts 2:1-18

Context
The Holy Spirit and the Day of Pentecost

2:1 Now 1  when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2:2 Suddenly 2  a sound 3  like a violent wind blowing 4  came from heaven 5  and filled the entire house where they were sitting. 2:3 And tongues spreading out like a fire 6  appeared to them and came to rest on each one of them. 2:4 All 7  of them were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they began to speak in other languages 8  as the Spirit enabled them. 9 

2:5 Now there were devout Jews 10  from every nation under heaven residing in Jerusalem. 11  2:6 When this sound 12  occurred, a crowd gathered and was in confusion, 13  because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 2:7 Completely baffled, they said, 14  “Aren’t 15  all these who are speaking Galileans? 2:8 And how is it that each one of us hears them 16  in our own native language? 17  2:9 Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and the province of Asia, 18  2:10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene, 19  and visitors from Rome, 20  2:11 both Jews and proselytes, 21  Cretans and Arabs – we hear them speaking in our own languages about the great deeds God has done!” 22  2:12 All were astounded and greatly confused, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 2:13 But others jeered at the speakers, 23  saying, “They are drunk on new wine!” 24 

Peter’s Address on the Day of Pentecost

2:14 But Peter stood up 25  with the eleven, raised his voice, and addressed them: “You men of Judea 26  and all you who live in Jerusalem, 27  know this 28  and listen carefully to what I say. 2:15 In spite of what you think, these men are not drunk, 29  for it is only nine o’clock in the morning. 30  2:16 But this is what was spoken about through the prophet Joel: 31 

2:17And in the last days 32  it will be,God says,

that I will pour out my Spirit on all people, 33 

and your sons and your daughters will prophesy,

and your young men will see visions,

and your old men will dream dreams.

2:18 Even on my servants, 34  both men and women,

I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 35 

1 tn Grk “And” Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic. Greek style often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” but English style does not.

2 tn Here καί (kai) has not been translated for stylistic reasons. It occurs as part of the formula καὶ ἐγένετο (kai egeneto) which is often left untranslated in Luke-Acts because it is redundant in contemporary English. Here it is possible (and indeed necessary) to translate ἐγένετο as “came” so that the initial clause of the English translation contains a verb; nevertheless the translation of the conjunction καί is not necessary.

3 tn Or “a noise.”

4 tn While φέρω (ferw) generally refers to movement from one place to another with the possible implication of causing the movement of other objects, in Acts 2:2 φέρομαι (feromai) should probably be understood in a more idiomatic sense of “blowing” since it is combined with the noun for wind (πνοή, pnoh).

5 tn Or “from the sky.” The Greek word οὐρανός (ouranos) may be translated “sky” or “heaven” depending on the context.

6 tn Or “And divided tongues as of fire.” The precise meaning of διαμερίζομαι (diamerizomai) in Acts 2:3 is difficult to determine. The meaning could be “tongues as of fire dividing up one to each person,” but it is also possible that the individual tongues of fire were divided (“And divided tongues as of fire appeared”). The translation adopted in the text (“tongues spreading out like a fire”) attempts to be somewhat ambiguous.

7 tn Grk “And all.” Because of the difference between Greek style, which often begins sentences or clauses with “and,” and English style, which generally does not, καί (kai) has not been translated here.

8 tn The Greek term is γλώσσαις (glwssai"), the same word used for the tongues of fire.

sn Other languages. Acts 2:6-7 indicates that these were languages understandable to the hearers, a diverse group from “every nation under heaven.”

9 tn Grk “just as the spirit gave them to utter.” The verb ἀποφθέγγομαι (apofqengomai) was used of special utterances in Classical Greek (BDAG 125 s.v.).

10 tn Grk “Jews, devout men.” It is possible that only men are in view here in light of OT commands for Jewish men to make a pilgrimage to Jerusalem at various times during the year (cf. Exod 23:17, 34:23; Deut 16:16). However, other evidence seems to indicate that both men and women might be in view. Luke 2:41-52 shows that whole families would make the temporary trip to Jerusalem. In addition, it is probable that the audience consisted of families who had taken up permanent residence in Jerusalem. The verb κατοικέω (katoikew) normally means “reside” or “dwell,” and archaeological evidence from tombs in Jerusalem does indicate that many families immigrated to Jerusalem permanently (see B. Witherington, Acts, 135); this would naturally include women. Also, the word ἀνήρ (ajnhr), which usually does mean “male” or “man” (as opposed to woman), sometimes is used generically to mean “a person” (BDAG 79 s.v. 2; cf. Matt 12:41). Given this evidence, then, it is conceivable that the audience in view here is not individual male pilgrims but a mixed group of men and women.

11 tn Grk “Now there were residing in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven.”

map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

12 tn Or “this noise.”

13 tn Or “was bewildered.”

14 tn Grk “They were astounded and amazed, saying.” The two imperfect verbs, ἐξίσταντο (existanto) and ἐθαύμαζον (eqaumazon), show both the surprise and the confusion on the part of the hearers. The verb ἐξίσταντο (from ἐξίστημι, existhmi) often implies an illogical perception or response (BDAG 350 s.v. ἐξίστημι): “to be so astonished as to almost fail to comprehend what one has experienced” (L&N 25.218).

15 tn Grk “Behold, aren’t all these.” The Greek word ἰδού (idou) at the beginning of this statement has not been translated because it has no exact English equivalent here, but adds interest and emphasis (BDAG 468 s.v. 1).

16 tn Grk “we hear them, each one of us.”

17 tn Grk “in our own language in which we were born.”

18 tn Grk “Asia”; in the NT this always refers to the Roman province of Asia, made up of about one-third of the west and southwest end of modern Asia Minor. Asia lay to the west of the region of Phrygia and Galatia. The words “the province of” are supplied to indicate to the modern reader that this does not refer to the continent of Asia.

19 tn According to BDAG 595 s.v. Λιβύη, the western part of Libya, Libya Cyrenaica, is referred to here (see also Josephus, Ant. 16.6.1 [16.160] for a similar phrase).

20 map For location see JP4 A1.

21 sn Proselytes refers to Gentile (i.e., non-Jewish) converts to Judaism.

22 tn Or “God’s mighty works.” Here the genitive τοῦ θεοῦ (tou qeou) has been translated as a subjective genitive.

23 tn The words “the speakers” are not in the Greek text, but have been supplied for clarity. Direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context.

24 tn Grk “They are full of new wine!”

sn New wine refers to a new, sweet wine in the process of fermentation.

25 tn Grk “standing up.” The participle σταθείς (staqei") has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.

26 tn Or “You Jewish men.” “Judea” is preferred here because it is paired with “Jerusalem,” a location. This suggests locality rather than ethnic background is the primary emphasis in the context. As for “men,” the Greek term here is ἀνήρ (anhr), which only exceptionally is used in a generic sense of both males and females. In this context, where “all” who live in Jerusalem are addressed, it is conceivable that this is a generic usage, although it can also be argued that Peter’s remarks were addressed primarily to the men present, even if women were there.

27 map For location see Map5 B1; Map6 F3; Map7 E2; Map8 F2; Map10 B3; JP1 F4; JP2 F4; JP3 F4; JP4 F4.

28 tn Grk “let this be known to you.” The passive construction has been translated as an active for stylistic reasons.

29 tn Grk “These men are not drunk, as you suppose.”

30 tn Grk “only the third hour.”

31 sn Note how in the quotation that follows all genders, ages, and classes are included. The event is like a hope Moses expressed in Num 11:29.

32 sn The phrase in the last days is not quoted from Joel, but represents Peter’s interpretive explanation of the current events as falling “in the last days.”

33 tn Grk “on all flesh.”

34 tn Grk “slaves.” Although this translation frequently renders δοῦλος (doulos) as “slave,” the connotation is often of one who has sold himself into slavery; in a spiritual sense, the idea is that of becoming a slave of God or of Jesus Christ voluntarily. The voluntary notion is not conspicuous here; hence, the translation “servants.” In any case, the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times…in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v.). The most accurate translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος), in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force.

35 sn The words and they will prophesy in Acts 2:18 are not quoted from Joel 2:29 at this point but are repeated from earlier in the quotation (Acts 2:17) for emphasis. Tongues speaking is described as prophecy, just like intelligible tongues are described in 1 Cor 14:26-33.



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