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Acts 2:1-36

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 

2:19 And I will perform wonders in the sky 36  above

and miraculous signs 37  on the earth below,

blood and fire and clouds of smoke.

2:20 The sun will be changed to darkness

and the moon to blood

before the great and glorious 38  day of the Lord comes.

2:21 And then 39  everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. 40 

2:22 “Men of Israel, 41  listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man clearly attested to you by God with powerful deeds, 42  wonders, and miraculous signs 43  that God performed among you through him, just as you yourselves know – 2:23 this man, who was handed over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you executed 44  by nailing him to a cross at the hands of Gentiles. 45  2:24 But God raised him up, 46  having released 47  him from the pains 48  of death, because it was not possible for him to be held in its power. 49  2:25 For David says about him,

I saw the Lord always in front of me, 50 

for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken.

2:26 Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue rejoiced;

my body 51  also will live in hope,

2:27 because you will not leave my soul in Hades, 52 

nor permit your Holy One to experience 53  decay.

2:28 You have made known to me the paths of life;

you will make me full of joy with your presence. 54 

2:29 “Brothers, 55  I can speak confidently 56  to you about our forefather 57  David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 2:30 So then, because 58  he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants 59  on his throne, 60  2:31 David by foreseeing this 61  spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, 62  that he was neither abandoned to Hades, 63  nor did his body 64  experience 65  decay. 66  2:32 This Jesus God raised up, and we are all witnesses of it. 67  2:33 So then, exalted 68  to the right hand 69  of God, and having received 70  the promise of the Holy Spirit 71  from the Father, he has poured out 72  what you both see and hear. 2:34 For David did not ascend into heaven, but he himself says,

The Lord said to my lord,

Sit 73  at my right hand

2:35 until I make your enemies a footstool 74  for your feet.”’ 75 

2:36 Therefore let all the house of Israel know beyond a doubt 76  that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified 77  both Lord 78  and Christ.” 79 

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.

36 tn Or “in the heaven.” The Greek word οὐρανός (ouranos) may be translated “sky” or “heaven” depending on the context. Here, in contrast to “the earth below,” a reference to the sky is more likely.

37 tn Here the context indicates the miraculous nature of the signs mentioned; this is made explicit in the translation.

38 tn Or “and wonderful.”

39 tn Grk “And it will be that.”

40 sn A quotation from Joel 2:28-32.

41 tn Or “Israelite men,” although this is less natural English. The Greek term here is ἀνήρ (anhr), which only exceptionally is used in a generic sense of both males and females. In this context, 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.

42 tn Or “miraculous deeds.”

43 tn Again, the context indicates the miraculous nature of these signs, and this is specified in the translation.

44 tn Or “you killed.”

45 tn Grk “at the hands of lawless men.” At this point the term ἄνομος (anomo") refers to non-Jews who live outside the Jewish (Mosaic) law, rather than people who broke any or all laws including secular laws. Specifically it is a reference to the Roman soldiers who carried out Jesus’ crucifixion.

46 tn Grk “Whom God raised up.”

47 tn Or “having freed.”

48 sn The term translated pains is frequently used to describe pains associated with giving birth (see Rev 12:2). So there is irony here in the mixed metaphor.

49 tn Or “for him to be held by it” (in either case, “it” refers to death’s power).

50 tn Or “always before me.”

51 tn Grk “my flesh.”

52 tn Or “will not abandon my soul to Hades.” Often “Hades” is the equivalent of the Hebrew term Sheol, the place of the dead.

53 tn Grk “to see,” but the literal translation of the phrase “to see decay” could be misunderstood to mean simply “to look at decay,” while here “see decay” is really figurative for “experience decay.”

54 sn A quotation from Ps 16:8-11.

55 tn Since this represents a continuation of the address beginning in v.14 and continued in v. 22, “brothers” has been used here rather than a generic expression like “brothers and sisters.”

56 sn Peter’s certainty is based on well-known facts.

57 tn Or “about our noted ancestor,” “about the patriarch.”

58 tn The participles ὑπάρχων (Juparcwn) and εἰδώς (eidw") are translated as causal adverbial participles.

59 tn Grk “one from the fruit of his loins.” “Loins” is the traditional translation of ὀσφῦς (osfu"), referring to the male genital organs. A literal rendering like “one who came from his genital organs” would be regarded as too specific and perhaps even vulgar by many contemporary readers. Most modern translations thus render the phrase “one of his descendants.”

60 sn An allusion to Ps 132:11 and 2 Sam 7:12-13, the promise in the Davidic covenant.

61 tn Grk “David foreseeing spoke.” The participle προϊδών (proidwn) is taken as indicating means. It could also be translated as a participle of attendant circumstance: “David foresaw [this] and spoke.” The word “this” is supplied in either case as an understood direct object (direct objects in Greek were often omitted, but must be supplied for the modern English reader).

62 tn Or “the Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”

sn The term χριστός (cristos) was originally an adjective (“anointed”), developing in LXX into a substantive (“an anointed one”), then developing still further into a technical generic term (“the anointed one”). In the intertestamental period it developed further into a technical term referring to the hoped-for anointed one, that is, a specific individual. In the NT the development starts there (technical-specific), is so used in the gospels, and then develops in Paul’s letters to mean virtually Jesus’ last name.

63 tn Or “abandoned in the world of the dead.” The translation “world of the dead” for Hades is suggested by L&N 1.19. The phrase is an allusion to Ps 16:10.

64 tn Grk “flesh.” See vv. 26b-27. The reference to “body” in this verse picks up the reference to “body” in v. 26. The Greek term σάρξ (sarx) in both verses literally means “flesh”; however, the translation “body” stresses the lack of decay of his physical body. The point of the verse is not merely the lack of decay of his flesh alone, but the resurrection of his entire person, as indicated by the previous parallel line “he was not abandoned to Hades.”

65 tn Grk “see,” but the literal translation of the phrase “see decay” could be misunderstood to mean simply “look at decay,” while here “see decay” is really figurative for “experience decay.”

66 sn An allusion to Ps 16:10.

67 tn Or “of him”; Grk “of which [or whom] we are all witnesses” (Acts 1:8).

68 tn The aorist participle ὑψωθείς (Juywqei") could be taken temporally: “So then, after he was exalted…” In the translation the more neutral “exalted” (a shorter form of “having been exalted”) was used to preserve the ambiguity of the original Greek.

69 sn The expression the right hand of God represents supreme power and authority. Its use here sets up the quotation of Ps 110:1 in v. 34.

70 tn The aorist participle λαβών (labwn) could be taken temporally: “So then, after he was exalted…and received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit.” In the translation the more neutral “having received” was used to preserve the ambiguity of the original Greek.

71 tn Here the genitive τοῦ πνεύματος (tou pneumato") is a genitive of apposition; the promise consists of the Holy Spirit.

72 sn The use of the verb poured out looks back to 2:17-18, where the same verb occurs twice.

73 sn Sit at my right hand. The word “sit” alludes back to the promise of “seating one on his throne” in v. 30.

74 sn The metaphor make your enemies a footstool portrays the complete subjugation of the enemies.

75 sn A quotation from Ps 110:1, one of the most often-cited OT passages in the NT, pointing to the exaltation of Jesus.

76 tn Or “know for certain.” This term is in an emphatic position in the clause.

77 tn Grk “has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” The clause has been simplified in the translation by replacing the pronoun “him” with the explanatory clause “this Jesus whom you crucified” which comes at the end of the sentence.

78 sn Lord. This looks back to the quotation of Ps 110:1 and the mention of “calling on the Lord” in 2:21. Peter’s point is that the Lord on whom one calls for salvation is Jesus, because he is the one mediating God’s blessing of the Spirit as a sign of the presence of salvation and the last days.

79 tn Or “and Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”

sn See the note on Christ in 2:31.



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