lesson
3

Bible Class
Discussion Guide
by Edward Thomason

The promise fulfilled
Acts 2:1-13

warm up
 

1. How would you have reacted had you been in the crowd at Jerusalem when the apostles began speaking about Jesus in the native languages of people from all around the world? 
                 [  ] impressed     [  ] confused       [  ] other

2. The word Pentecost means "fifty." It was a Jewish feast celebrated fifty days after the Passover feast (Lev. 23:15-16) and always fell on the first day of the week.

wise up

The Spirit came suddenly with sound, sight, and signs (2:1-4)
  
Suddenly:
Without warning, God acted! The promise had been anticipated but who knew just when it would come? God in his on time fulfilled his promise. What lesson does that teach us today about other promises of God such as the the Lord's return?
The original writings of Luke were not divided by chapters and verses. As you look at verse 1 of chapter 2 in connection with the preceding verses, who are the "they" that were in one accord in one place? While some suggest that the Spirit fell on the 120 mentioned in Acts 1:15, the overwhelming evidence of the scriptures indicate that it was "only" the apostles who received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Compare and discuss the following texts:  Acts 2:7, they were Galileans; Acts 2:13, they were men; Acts 2:14, Peter was standing with the eleven (not the 120); Acts 1:37, when the people were pricked in their hearts they asked Peter and the rest of the apostles (not the 120) what shall we do? There is no doubt that it was only the apostles who received the baptism of the Holy Spirit which empowered them (Acts 1:8). 
   Sound: Describe the sound that was heard. Sometimes people say a tornado sounds like a train, but it isn't a train. This sounded like a wind but the wind wasn't blowing. 
   Sight: Describe what physically appeared in verse 3. Notice the scripture says "it" (not they) sat upon each of them. How many cloven tongues were there? Sometimes people say that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is the baptism of fire that John spoke of in Matthew 3:11. But the apostles were not immersed in fire. It sat upon their heads. The baptism or immersion in fire is a reference to Hell (Rev. 21:8) and has nothing to do with what happened at Pentecost.
   Signs: When the apostles were each filled with the Holy Spirit, what "sign" or miracle followed according to verse 4? Was this a demonstration of the "power" promised to be associated with the Spirit (Acts 1:8)? Define what a "tongue" is according to this chapter? Compare verse 6 and 8. Is a "tongue" some utterance that no one understands or is it a language? 

The Spirit created crowds, curiosity, confusion, and conjecture ( 2:5-13)
   Crowds:
Verse 5 says those attending the feast were devout men from every nation under heaven. Discuss some of the benefits of the Lord waiting until this occasion to empower the apostles and miraculously confirm the words they preached. Would devout men be more likely to consider the evidence? Would the return to every nation by those who were converted help spread the gospel? (There is no real evidence that Peter ever went to Rome and the apostle Paul wrote to Christians living in Rome before he ever went there. (Rom. 1:10-15) How had there come to be Christians in Rome? Could it be the "strangers of Rome" (2:10) were among those converted and returned home to convert others? Can you then see the wisdom of God in waiting until Pentecost when so many nations had gathered?
   Curiosity: In Verse 6, the American Standard translation says, "And when this sound was heard, the multitude came together." This would indicate that the sound was so loud and puzzling that it was the reason why the crowd gathered. Again if the "house" they were in was actually the temple (see previous lesson and Acts 7:47) then there would have been ample room for the curious to gather. 
   Confusion: Why were the people confounded? Some ask how those of different languages could communicate with each other and how they all could hear Peter when he later preached. How would you explain this? Could it be that while they spoke different native tongues, they all spoke the Hebrew tongue? Isn't it likely that Peter spoke to them in the Hebrew language? (The miracle was not on the ears of the listeners as some suggest, but in the tongues of those speaking.)
   Confounded: What were the apostles speaking about according to verse 11?  What would those works be and what made them wonderful? While most marveled, some mocked. Why do you think some mocked?  

wrap up

1. When it came to empowerment, the ability to speak in tongues by the apostles was only touching the hem of the garment. As we learn from further study they were empowered to do much more. They had not received a partial indwelling of the Spirit or only one of many gifts of the Spirit, but were "filled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:4). 
2. This empowerment would serve them well in confirming the validity of their message. (Mark 16:20.)

Assignment

  Please read Acts 2:14-21 for next week   copyright 2001