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Acts Chapter 2
An Understandable Version of ACTS
Translation by William E. Paul
by Charles Dailey

(Black underlined words match words in the Bible text.)
  Jews came to Jerusalem from the far reaches of the Roman Empire to worship God for this one-day event.
– The chart entitled Always on Sunday shows this Spring festival always came on Sunday. It celebrated the first-fruits of the coming grain harvest, so fitting to picture the church that would be launched on this day.
1) And when the day of Pentecost came [Note: This was a Jewish festival held fifty days following the Passover Festival. Lev. 23:15-21], they [i.e., the twelve apostles] were all gathered together in one place [i.e., their second story living quarters, 1:13?]. – Most likely in the Temple, being the 9 A.M. prayer-time, vs. 14. The large crowd, vs. 6, suggests the same.
2) Suddenly a rushing sound, like a fierce wind blowing, came from the sky above them, and [its noise] filled the entire house where they were sitting. – God sent an auditory attention-getter. Josephus called the meeting rooms at the Temple "houses." Wars 5.5. Luke's language is incredibly accurate.
3) Then they saw what appeared to be flames of fire shooting down and landing on each one of them. – God sent a visible attention-getter. Both sound and light came downward.
– Luke does not say that it was either wind or fire.
4) And they [i.e., the apostles] were all filled with [the power of] the Holy Spirit and began to speak ["the mighty accomplishments of God," See verse 11] in different languages, as the Holy Spirit gave them the ability. – This was called the "baptism of the Holy Spirit" by Peter in Acts 11:15-17, where he uses the expression "fell on" to describe this event. Jesus said that He would "descend on" them in Acts 1:8. Peter said Jesus "poured (it) out" in 2:33. This filling is different than the inward presence of the Holy Spirit received by every believer at baptism. It also fulfills Mark 9:1.
5) Now some devoted Jews from every nation of the world were visiting Jerusalem [for the Pentecost festival]. – The audience, though mainly Jews, was international, fulfilling Isaiah 2:2 - 3. They were devoted enough to travel this far for a one day feast.
6) And when they heard the noise [of the blowing wind] a large number of them assembled [around the apostles] and were puzzled over how they could hear them speaking in their native languages. – The large number is another clue favoring the Temple site rather than a private room for the event.
7) Being so amazed and astounded [at something so unusual happening], they exclaimed, "Look! are not all these men who are speaking from [the country of] Galilee? – The miracle was not to communicate but to convince.
– The visitors heard their native languages spoken by men unacquainted with them.
– Learning a language is a slow process and the apostles had it instantly. Such super-human knowledge!
8) How is it then, that we are hearing them speak in our own native languages: – Each Apostle spoke a new language. Mark 16:17.
– The 12 were from Galilee. Acts 1:11. They did not even have access to some of these distant languages.
– The visitors all spoke the local Aramaic language.
9) Parthians, Medes, Elamites, people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappodocia, Pontus, Asia,
10) Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt and areas of Libya around Cyrene, Jewish and proselyte travelers from Rome, – A proselyte is a Gentile convert to Judaism.
11) Cretans and Arabians. How can it be that we hear [these apostles] speaking about the mighty accomplishments of God in the language of our national origin? – There were about 15 nations and 10 languages represented.
– The 12 spoke of the miracles and resurrection of Jesus.
– God intends for every person to hear the message of what He has done in their home language. This event pointed to the future of worldwide Scripture translation and worldwide evangelism.
12) And they were amazed and perplexed [over this] and began saying to one another, "What does all this mean?" – A rule of effective teaching is to get their attention.
13) But others made fun of them, saying, "Oh, they are just drunk [i.e., full of new wine]." – Each apostle would only be understood by a few people. To the other hearers, the sound seemed like drunks babbling.
– One view suggests this is humor because new wine is found in the cluster, indicating the word meant grape juice. Isaiah 65:8. Peter responded as if were serious in verse 15.
14) But Peter [responded by] standing up with the eleven [other] apostles and, lifting up his voice, began to speak. He said, "People of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, listen to what I am saying so you will understand this situation. – Peter is using his keys to open the door of the Kingdom for these devout Jews. Matthew 16:19.
– Peter is usually the spokesman for the apostles.
– The message was restricted to Jews and Jewish proselytes for about 10 years.
15) For these men [i.e., the twelve apostles] are not drunk as you suppose, since it is only nine o'clock in the morning. [Note: The use of Jewish time calculations are employed in this verse]. – Peter answers the question that has been raised.
– Being drunk does not increase language skills and usually social drinkers are not drunk in the A.M.
– The first church service was at 9:00 A.M.!
16) But what you see happening is simply [the fulfillment of] what was predicted by the prophet Joel [2:28ff], – Joel 2:28-32. Joel spoke for God over 800 years before Peter repeated it here.
17) God said that 'in the last days [of the Jewish nation?] I will pour out My Holy Spirit upon all people [i.e., both Jews and Gentiles], and your sons and daughters will speak out [in prophecies] and your young men will see [supernatural] visions, and your old men will have [supernatural] dreams. – Since the prophecy was being fulfilled before their eyes, the very time Peter was speaking was the "last days."
– Usually only one or two prophets of each generation had the Holy Spirit. Here 12 Jewish sons were prophesying. Some daughters had already spoken out and Luke had reported their cases in Luke 1:41;2:36-38. (The fulfillment was not confined to Pentecost Day.)
- Joseph had dreams from God: Matt. 1:20; 2:13,19; 2:22.
18) Yes, and I will pour out my Holy Spirit on my male and female [spiritual] slaves in those days so that they will speak out in prophecies. – Males prophesied: Luke 1:57; Acts 11:28; 19:6.
– Females prophesied: Luke 1:41; Acts 21:9.
– also see the Prophetess chart.
19) And I will display miracles in the sky above and [supernatural] signs on the earth below [consisting of] blood, fire and smoky vapor. – As to miracles in the sky, residents at Jerusalem had experienced darkness at mid-day. Matthew 27:45. As to signs on the earth, the apostles performed miracles that very day. Vs. 43.
20) [In that day] the sun will become dark and the moon will [appear] as blood. [This will all happen] before the great and wonderful day when the Lord comes. [Note: Some view these last two verses as a reference to events occurring at the end of time. See Matt. 24:29-30]. – The sun and moon probably stand for the government. This was a well-understood figure of speech seen in the story of Joseph. Genesis 37:9-10. Jerusalem only lasted 40 more years after Peter's sermon, so these were indeed the "last days" of Jerusalem.
21) And the time will come when every person who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved' [i.e., whoever appeals to God through obedient faith in Christ]. – Joel says salvation was to become available to every person who calls on the name of the Lord. Peter went on to tell them HOW to call on the name of the Lord and to be saved. Being saved was a new idea. The calling would be defined a few sentences later.
– In the Psalm, the Lord is Jehovah or Yahweh.
22) "You people of Israel, listen to this message: Jesus from Nazareth was a man whom God [demonstrated] His approval of by powerful deeds, miracles and [supernatural] signs which He accomplished through Jesus in your very presence --- and you all know this! –Jesus fulfilled the Nazarene (Branch) prophecies of Scripture. See Fred Miller's scholarly discussion at his site.
- God has been active among them by approving Jesus.
- Joel had promised miracles (vs. 19) and they came through Jesus as in Luke 19:37. Joel had promised signs and they came through Jesus as in John 2:11. God's approval of Jesus had been a public matter.
23) Yet, He was handed over to you so that, by lawless men [i.e., the Romans], He was put to death by crucifixion. Now this was all done in harmony with God's full pre-knowledge and [divine] purpose. – God allowed Jesus to be handed over to the people of Israel by Judas. They, in turn, handed him over to the Romans. It was part of a plan.
24) But God raised Him up, having released Him from the sharp pains [He experienced when dying], because it was not possible that He could be held in death's grip. – God also raised Jesus.
25) King David said this about Jesus [Psa. 16:8ff],
'I always see the Lord in front of me, He is at my right side for protection;
– Not only Joel about 800 B.C., but King David about 1,000 B.C., had foreseen these events. David was not speaking of himself, but the coming Christ Jesus.
- Here Lord is Jehovah or Yahweh.
26) therefore, I was glad in my heart, and my mouth expressed this [joy]. In addition, my body will live in hope [of being raised] – The Christ was to find both joy and hope in death.
27) because you [i.e., God] will not allow my soul [i.e., this is a reference to Jesus] to remain in Hades [i.e., the unseen place of the departed spirits], neither will you allow [the body of] your Holy One to decay. – Lazarus was decaying on the fourth day. John 11:39. Jesus was raised on the third day.
28) You have made known to me what life is all about. You will make me completely happy by your very presence.' – After death, there is life and happiness.
29) Brothers, I would like to speak very plainly about the patriarch David [Note: A patriarch was the ruling father of the family]. He died and was buried and his grave can be seen today. – The Psalm quotation is complete. Peter continues.
-- David's tomb is still revered today after nearly 3,000 years.
30) Since he was a prophet and knew that God had pledged His word that one of his [i.e., David's] descendants would sit on his throne [as king]; – Besides being a King and poet, David was a prophet, but not primarily a prophet.
- The pledge is in 2 Samuel 7:12-13.
31) David, foreseeing this, spoke of Christ being raised from the dead. [He said Jesus' spirit] would not be left in the unseen place of departed spirits, nor would His body decay. – not left corresponds to vs. 27; body corresponds to vs. 26; decay corresponds to vs. 27.
32) So, God raised this Jesus up [from the dead] and we [apostles] are all witnesses [of it]. – "God raised Jesus and we saw him."
33) Jesus is [now] exalted at the right side of God, and having received the promised Holy Spirit from His Father, He has poured out what you have seen and heard [here this day]. – Jesus had asked to be restored to his former glory. John 17:5. Daniel 7:13-14 shows a vision of this.
- right side corresponds to vs. 25; poured out corresponds with vs. 17;
- Joel had said, "I will pour out my Holy Spirit. . . " Vs. 17.
- Heard relates back to verse 6.
34) Now David is not the one who ascended into heaven for he [spoke of Jesus when he] said [Psa. 110:1],
'The Lord [i.e., God] said to my [i.e., David's] Lord [i.e., Jesus], sit at my right side
– Jesus now reigns over the willing.
35) until I put your enemies [in subjection] beneath your feet.' – There is an "enemies list." Let's get off of it if we haven't.
36) Therefore, let all those who make up the household of Israel [i.e., God's people] know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you have crucified, both Lord and Christ." – Peter has a new level of courage. He is no longer frightened by a young girl's question.
- The certainty was anchored in prophecy, miracles and the resurrection of Jesus.
- Jesus was Lord or Master and Christ or Messiah.
37) Now when the people heard this message [of Peter and the other apostles, See verse 14], they were convicted [of its truth] in their hearts and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do [about our condemned condition]?" – These listeners knew that action was required. Doing something to obey God is different than earning salvation.
38) And Peter replied, "Every one of you must repent [i.e., change your hearts and lives] and be immersed in the name of Jesus Christ [i.e., by His authority] so that your sins will be forgiven [by God] and then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit [to live in your hearts]. – Each person must repent. Some things can be done as a family or community, but not repentance.
- Immersion related the believer to the resurrection and was not optional. Romans 6:4. This is the first time immersion in the name of Jesus has been preached.
- will be forgiven, not "have been forgiven."
- Forgiveness (which takes place in the mind of God) and the gift of the Spirit (who dwells within us) are the result.
- This fulfilled Jesus' prayer "Father forgive them . . . "
39) For the promise [of forgiveness and the Holy Spirit] is being given to you [Jews] and to your descendants and [also] to all those who are far away [i.e., Gentiles. See Eph. 2:17]. [This promise is] to as many as [respond to] the Lord, our God's call [through the Gospel, See II Thess. 2:14]." – During its first few years, the church was exclusively Jewish. Note that a Gentile was writing this.
- In the light of the special vision to Peter in Acts 10 telling him to go to Cornelius, he did not understand what his own words meant here.
40) So, Peter testified and urged the crowd with many additional words, saying, "Save yourselves from [the condemnation coming on] this sinful generation [by responding to this message]." – This word saved had been introduced from the Joel quotation in verse 21.
- This generation was scheduled for destruction. Luke 21:20.
41) Then those who responded [by faith] to the words [spoken by Peter and the apostles] were immersed, and about three thousand persons were added to them [i.e., the apostles] on that day. – Response could not be separated from immersion.
- They were also obeying Jesus' commands in Matthew 28:18 and Mark 16:16.
- Three thousand: the great Ingathering was underway.
- 3,000 died when the Law was launched. Exodus 32:28.
42) And these [new converts] continued regularly [to listen] to the teaching of the apostles and to share with them; they broke bread [in memory of Jesus] and continued praying. – The spoken word of the apostles was the voice of God to these believers. Ephesians 2:20. Later, their word became the written Word.
- The four pillars of the Christian life were (and still are) the apostles' teaching, the sharing, the Lord's Supper (where Jesus' death is affirmed) and prayer, both public and private.
43) Everyone [who saw this happen] was filled with awe at the many miracles and [supernatural] signs performed by the apostles. – The apostles were the teachers and verified their message with miracles. Teaching was so vital to these new believers.
44) And all the believers [in Jesus] were together and shared everything. – A remarkable unity arose spontaneously. The travelers to Pentecost ran low on funds because they stayed for the apostles' teaching.
45) They sold their belongings and property and divided [the money] among all [the believers] according to each one's need. – The local Christians sold goods and real-estate to meet the needs. Obviously they didn't sell the houses where they lived or all of them would have been out in the street.
46) And every day they continued to meet together in the Temple [i.e., for teaching and worship]. They were enjoying their meals and the close fellowship they shared in the various homes, and were – Their joy reflects the joy of Christ. Vs. 26. There is no reluctance to attend when joy is present. Their unity was based on their faith in Jesus, not doctrinal agreement.
47) praising God and enjoying favor with all the people [of the area]. And every day the Lord added to their number [i.e., to the church] those who were being saved [i.e., upon their obedience to the Gospel]. – The believers were popular in Jerusalem. This would change as the story unfolds.
- Luke shows the Lord was active among the saved.
Table showing that Pentecost always came on Sunday

Table showing the distribution of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament

Table showing Prophetesses in Scripture

Table showing the five baptisms of the New Testament

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