Acts 2 Bible Study

Bible study of Acts chapter 2

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Acts 2 Bible Study

ACTS 2:1  1 When the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

What is the "Day of Pentecost"?
Also called the "Feast of Harvest" or the "Day of First Fruits", it was a feast during which the people brought as an offering the first fruits of their grain harvest to thank God, as well as to express their trust that He will bless the rest of the harvest. Along with Passover and the Feast of Tabernacles, the Day of Pentecost was second of three major feasts that God commanded to be kept in the Old Testament.

Why was it called, "Day of Pentecost"?
Pentecost was celebrated 50 days after the Passover. The Greek word pentekostos means “50th.”

ACTS 2:2-13  2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. 7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabs - we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.” 12 So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?” 13 Others mocking said, “They are full of new wine.”

What did they hear in Acts 2:2?
"Sound... of rushing mighty wind."

Where did the sound come from?

What was the sound of?
The Holy Spirit, as Jesus had promised: "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever - the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but ye know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you." (John 14:16-17)

What did they see and feel, and how did they end up?
"Divided tongues, as of fire" that "sat upon each of them." They ended up "filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance."

What drew the "multitude"?
The disciples speaking in their "own language."

What are the named places and people called today?
"Parthians and Medes and Elamites" are Iranians. "Mesopotamia" is Iraq. "Judea" is Israel, while "Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia" are all in Turkey. Egypt, Libya and Rome are the same today, "Cretans" are from Crete, the Greek island, and "Arabs" are Saudi Arabians.

To what did some of them attribute what they were witnessing?
The disciples being drunk: "They are full of new wine."

Why might the Holy Spirit have come on the Day of Pentecost?
As the day signaled the start of the grain harvest, He might have wished to signal the start of the harvesting of souls.

ACTS 2:14-15  14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. 15 For these are not drunk, as ye suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.

What is "third hour of the day"?
Three hours from the start of the day, which was deemed to be 6am. Peter was saying that it's only 9am, which is too early to start to drink, let alone be drunk.

Why did the eleven other Apostles stand up with Peter in Acts 2:14?
Perhaps so that the crowd can see with their own eyes that they weren't drunk. Peter may have even pointed or gestured to them when he said, "these" are not drunk in Acts 2:15.

ACTS 2:16-21  16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: 17 ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: blood and fire and vapor of smoke. 20 The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord. 21 And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord Shall be saved.’

Why is Peter quoting from what the prophet Joel said in Joel 2:28-32?
To say that what they were witnessing wasn't drunkenness but the fulfillment was Joel's prophecy; now that the "last days" or the final phase of God's plan for mankind had begun with the harvesting of souls, the Holy Spirit was being "poured out" on not just kings and prophets but "all flesh," including "sons... daughters... young men... old men... menservants and on maidservants."

What about the "wonders" mentioned in Acts 2:19-20?
They are things to happen "before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord" - the Second coming of Jesus.

ACTS 2:22-28  22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as ye yourselves also know- 23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it. 25 For David says concerning Him: ‘I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; moreover my flesh also will rest in hope. 27 For You will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.’

What did Peter do in Acts 2:22-24?
In one long sentence, he summarized to the crowd the message about Jesus, that they had illegally ("by lawless hands") crucified Jesus, whose identity God had "attested... by miracles" and whom God had intended ("determined purpose and foreknowledge of God") to be sacrificed and "raised up" from "death."

And what does Peter tell the crowd in Acts 2:25-28?
That the death and resurrection of Jesus, the "Holy One," was prophesied by none other than David, whom they revere, in Psalm 16:8-11 as quoted.

ACTS 2:29-41  29 “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and 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, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, 31 he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which ye now see and hear. 34 “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, 35 Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”’ 36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom ye crucified, both Lord and Christ.” 37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” 38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” 40 And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, Be saved from this perverse generation.” 41 Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. 

Why does Peter bring up that David is "both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day?"
He is reminding the people that unlike David, who died and stayed dead, Jesus stayed neither dead nor buried, and His tomb is empty.

What does Peter also share in Acts 2:30-31?
David not only knew that Jesus would be resurrected, but also that He will ascend to "sit on his throne" in heaven.

Was Peter speaking to a crowd of disciples?
No, it was just a crowd that had gathered after hearing a strange sound, then people speaking in languages they had never learned.

Were they hearing pleasant things from Peter?
Not really. He was telling them that they had killed God.

So why did they keep quiet instead of objecting to or shouting down Peter?
They couldn't deny the truth of what he was saying. The body had disappeared from a guarded tomb and over 500 people were running around the region testifying that they had seen the resurrected Jesus: "After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep." (1 Corinthians 15:6) Think about this for a second. Had there been any doubt about Jesus' resurrection at the time, Peter would have been challenged, if not shouted down by this crowd, who would have dispersed, dismissing Jesus as just a rabbi who had done and said some nice things but eventually talked too much and gotten himself killed. But if Jesus was someone who is stronger than even death and not only rose from the dead but actually had prophesied that in advance, then everything else He said - including His declaration that He is God who came to die to save us from our sins - deserved at least a very careful consideration, if not immediate acceptance. If Jesus hadn't proven His deity by conquering death, Christianity would never have made it past this crowd.

What ended up happening to them?
"They were cut to the heart" by the truth that couldn't be challenged and "about three thousand," an enormous number in those days, as well as today, dropped to their knees right then and there and accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

What was Peter's first word of advice to them?

From what, and what does it mean?
From sins. The translated Greek word is metanoeo, which means to change one's mind or attitude about, so repenting from sins means changing one's mind or attitude away from sins.

What is Peter's next word of advice?
"Be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins."

Peter wasn't saying the act of baptism, which involves being submerged in water for a moment (the translated Greek word is baptizo, which literally means to immerse or submerge in water) results in the remission - i.e., forgiveness - of sins (see earlier section on Baptism), but to be baptized as a symbol of believing "with all your heart" (Acts 8:37) that Jesus' death on the cross resulted in that.

If Jesus' death on the cross did that, why then do we need to "receive the gift of the Holy Spirit"?
Because we're human, we will not stopping sinning completely despite our best efforts. The Holy Spirit is the One who guides, teaches and admonishes us so that we sin less and less and become more and more the person that Jesus wants us to be. Furthermore, the Holy Spirit gives us spiritual gifts: "There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills." (1 Corinthians 12:4-11)

Are these gifts for all Christians?
Every Christian receives at least one spiritual gift.

What are we supposed to do with them?
Help each others and to bring glory to Jesus. Spiritual gifts are not to be used for selfish gains.

How many believers were in Jerusalem when Jesus ascended to heaven?
"About a hundred and twenty." (Acts 1:15)

How many new Christians did each of them have to tend to after this one sermon alone?
Twenty-five (3000 / 120 = 25). The harvest indeed had started.

ACTS 2:42-47  42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. 43 Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. 44 Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. 46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

How did the first Christians deal with their possessions?
They "... had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need." (Acts 2:44-45)

Surely, this isn't how Christians are supposed to live today?
Actually it is, and this is how many Christians in the "developing" world still live, while the Christians in the "developed" world tend to hang onto their possessions.

But shouldn't we keep back at least some possessions for our rainy days in the future?
Imagine you have savings of $100,000 and your sister needs $100,000 for a life saving surgery. Would you use that money to pay for her surgery or keep it for your future and let her die? In God's eyes, a Christian half-way around the world whom we have never met is just as much our sister as a biological sister, and holding back possessions - all of which belong to God - while her needs go unmet is sin, as is not trusting God's will and provision for our future rainy days if we used His possessions in our care to help those on whom the rain is falling today.

What special evangelistic programs increased the number of people being saved in the first church?
None, it is "the Lord" who "added to the church daily those who were being saved." (Acts 2:47)

Does this still apply today?
Absolutely. Our job is to "Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15) Whom God saves and adds to the church is up to Him.

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