Bruce, F.F. The Book of Acts Revised. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988. Kindle Electronic Edition. “Acts 2” “ I. The Birth of the Church (1:1-5:42)” “B. The Day of Pentecost (2:1-47)” pp. 48-75.
Acts chapter 2 describes events on the first Day of Pentecost after the resurrection. Bruce notes it as named “fiftieth” since it is the fiftieth day after Passover. The feast is also “the feast of weeks” or “the day of the firstfruits” (Bruce 1988, 48). A sound of wind, a typical sign of the Holy Spirit, was heard, at least by the gathered disciples (Bruce 1988, 50). This was accompanied by a visual sign, like tongues of fire. Bruce is noncommital about any relation between the idea of a “tongue” in the vision and the speaking in tongues. The fact that, in verse 3, the disciples were sitting, suggests a private house. The crowd gathered shortly later suggests a move into the streets (Bruce 1988, 51). In verse 4, the disciples are filled with the Holy Spirit. Bruce comments that in some instances of speaking in tongues in the New Testament the speech is understood, as here, while in others, such as 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, it is not, so needs an interpreter (Bruce 1988, 51).
Verses 5-13 detail the reaction of the crowds. Bruce observes that Jerusalem at this time was full of visitors from other countries. Jews from all over would come. Aramaic and Greek would have been commonly understood (Bruce 1988, 53). The nations listed by Luke are places where Jewish settlements had been established (Bruce 1988, 55). The dispersed people had many different languages. They heard Galilaeans proclaiming God’s works in their own languages. This was certainly a miracle (Bruce 1988, 59).
Verses 14-36 detail Peter’s explanation of the events. Bruce suggests that this address seems fitting for the area near the temple, possibly in the outer court (Bruce 1988, 59). Peter notably speaks in Greek or Aramaic. The tongues seem to be ended. He refers to Joel’s statements of events in the last days (Bruce 1988, 60). The Holy Spirit would be poured out “on all flesh.” Bruce interprets Peter to think this is a beginning of that activity (Bruce 1988, 61). Peter points in verses 22-28 to Jesus as the one whose resurrection has ushered in the last days. Bruce briefly discusses New Testament sermons at this point. He notes they have four common elements, thought not always in this order: “(1) the announcement that the age of fulfillment has arrived; (2) an account of the ministry, death, and triumph of Jesus; (3) citation of Old Testament scriptures whose fulfilment in these events proves Jesus to be the one to whom they pointed forward; (4) a call to repentance” (Bruce 1988, 62). This is precisely what Peter does here. Bruce details the many statements of Peter which show Jesus as the goal of all the prophecies. The rising from the dead, ascension to heaven, and giving of the Holy Spirit attest to Jesus’ identity as Messiah (Bruce 1988, 66).
In verse 37 Peter turns to a call for repentance (Bruce 1988, 68). The hearers were stricken in their conscience. What shoudl they do? Peter tells them to repent of their sin and receive baptism. Bruce notes that, even with the coming of the Holy Spirit, the baptism in water continues. The “baptism was now part of a more comprehensive initiation which took its character especially from the receiving of the Spirit” (Bruce 1988, 69). The crowds received baptism willingly, now in Jesus’ name and associated with the Holy Spirit. Bruce does emphasize that the forgiveness of sins is limited both to baptism and repentance (Bruce 1988, 70). It is the work of God’s grace which saves. Bruce uses this to indicate that baptism normally is an “expression of repentance” (Bruce 1988, 70). He then goes on to identify salvation as “the gift of the Spirit” as opposed to multiple “gifts of the Spirit” detailed elsewhere in Scripture (Bruce 1988, 71).
Verses 41-47 describe the fledgling Church in brief (Bruce 1988, 72). Bruce notes that the group of Christians on this day was larger than all Jesus’ previous consistent entourage. The community is based on apostolic teaching. It was joyful and caring. Bruce sees the “breaking of bread” in v. 42 as communion (Bruce 1988, 73).