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The New Oxford Annotated Bible New Revised Standard Study Bible that provides essential scholarship and guidance for Bible readers.

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Commentary on The Acts of the Apostles

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2.1–41 : The day of Pentecost.

The Feast of Weeks or Pentecost (Lev 23.15–21 ), the spring barley harvest, falls fifty days after Passover. Jewish tradition held that the law had been given on this day.

1–13 :

The coming of the Holy Spirit.

2 :

Rush of a violent wind, perhaps an allusion to Gen 1.2 (“while a mighty wind swept over the face of the waters” [alternate version]), though this and other features here are typical of theophanies—manifestations of God (Ex 19.16–19; 1 Kings 19.11; Isa 66.15 ).

3 :

John the Baptist had predicted a baptism “with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Lk 3.16; Mt 3.11; cf. Mk 1.8; Jn 1.33 ).

4 :

This baptism ( 1.5 ) or filling with the Spirit is clearly foundational for Acts but is not referred to elsewhere in the New Testament (but cf. Jn 20.22 ).

5 :

Devout Jews from every nation, emphasizing the universal character of the Pentecost event.

6 :

The other languages (v. 4 ) are foreign languages, not the “tongues” of 1 Cor 14.1–33 . Perhaps the author thinks of a reversal of the confusion of languages at the tower of Babel (Gen 11.1–9 ).

9–11 :

The list of countries and races, generally moving from east to west, suggests universal participation in the Pentecost event.

10 :

Proselytes, full converts to Judaism.

13 :

Filled with new wine, i.e., drunk (v. 15 ).

14–36 :

Peter's sermon. Like other Hellenistic historians Luke provides characters with speeches appropriate to their circumstances. This does not exclude the use of traditional material but assures the presence of the author's concerns. The speeches share the pronounced biblical style in which Luke has composed the early chapters of Acts.

14 :

Peter remains the spokesman for the apostles ( 1.15 ); individualized actions by the others are not portrayed in Acts.

16 :

The event is interpreted as a fulfillment of scripture.

17 :

In the last days is added to the beginning of the quotation of Joel 2.28–32 .

22 :

A man, Luke does not think of the incarnation of a divine being. Deeds of power, wonders, and signs, biblical language (e.g., Deut 4.34; 6.22; 26.8 ) used often in Acts.

23 :

The crucifixion of Jesus by Jews and Gentiles was part of a plan, see Lk 22.22; 24.26; Acts 4.27–28 .

25 :

Ps 16.8–11 . David, see 1.16n.

29 :

His tomb, see, e.g., Josephus, Ant. 7.392–394 .

30 :

2 Sam 7.12–13; Ps 132.11 .

31 :

The Messiah is assumed to come from the line of David (cf. Rom 1.3 ).

32 :

Witnesses, see 1.22n.

33 :

Exalted, a reference to the ascension. The promise, i.e., Joel 2.28–32 in vv. 17–21 .

34–35 :

Ps 110.1 , like Ps 16.8–11 (v. 25), here also refers not to David but to Jesus. It was widely used in early Christian thought about Jesus (Mk 12.36; 1 Cor 15.25; Heb 1.13 ).

36 :

Made him both Lord and Messiah, apparently at the resurrection. This “adoptionist” christology appears to conflict with Luke's account of Jesus’ baptism (Lk 3.21–22); see 10.38n. Such tensions in Acts may indicate the use of sources with contrasting viewpoints.

37–41 :

The call to repentance.

37 :

Lk 3.10 .

38 :

Here the gift of the Spirit follows baptism, but there is variety elsewhere ( 8.16; 10.44; 18.26; 19.5–6 ).

39 :

Isa 57.19; Joel 2.32 . All who are far away, the universal nature of the church is clear from the beginning (cf. Lk 2.32 ).

41 :

Three thousand persons were added, illustrating the phenomenal success of Peter's speech.

2.42–47 : Life in the first Christian community.

42 :

The breaking of bread (v. 46 ) describes both a common Christian meal (e.g., 20.7,11 ) and the Lord's Supper ( 27.33–38; cf. 1 Cor 11.17–34 ).

43–47 :

Luke portrays life in the early Jerusalem community as a golden age.

43 :

By performing wonders and signs the apostles fulfill Joel's prophecy ( 2.19 ) and imitate Jesus ( 2.22 ).

44–45 :

The ideal use of possessions and money illustrates the proper response to the preaching of Jesus on this subject in the Gospel (see Lk 6.20; 12.13–21,33–34; 14.12–24,33 ). For community of goods in the Dead Sea scrolls, see 1QS 1.11–12 ; cf. Josephus, War 2.122 on the Essenes.

46 :

Members of the growing Christian group are simultaneously devout Jews who remain close to the temple.

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