New English Translation
Peter’s Address on the Day of Pentecost
14 But Peter stood up[a] with the eleven, raised his voice, and addressed them: “You men of Judea[b] and all you who live in Jerusalem, know this[c] and listen carefully to what I say. 15 In spite of what you think, these men are not drunk,[d] for it is only nine o’clock in the morning.[e] 16 But this is what was spoken about through the prophet Joel:[f]
17 ‘And in the last days[g] it will be,’ God says,
‘that I will pour out my Spirit on all people,[h]
and your sons and your daughters will prophesy,
and your young men will see visions,
and your old men will dream dreams.
18 Even on my servants,[i] both men and women,
I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy.[j]
19 And I will perform wonders in the sky[k] above
and miraculous signs[l] on the earth below,
blood and fire and clouds of smoke.
20 The sun will be changed to darkness
and the moon to blood
before the great and glorious[m] day of the Lord comes.
21 And then[n] everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’[o]
22 “Men of Israel,[p] listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man clearly attested to you by God with powerful deeds,[q] wonders, and miraculous signs[r] that God performed among you through him, just as you yourselves know— 23 this man, who was handed over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you executed[s] by nailing him to a cross at the hands of Gentiles.[t] 24 But God raised him up,[u] having released[v] him from the pains[w] of death, because it was not possible for him to be held in its power.[x] 25 For David says about him,
‘I saw the Lord always in front of me,[y]
for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken.
26 Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue rejoiced;
my body[z] also will live in hope,
27 because you will not leave my soul in Hades,[aa]
nor permit your Holy One to experience[ab] decay.
28 You have made known to me the paths of life;
you will make me full of joy with your presence.’[ac]
29 “Brothers,[ad] I can speak confidently[ae] to you about our forefather[af] David, that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 So then, because[ag] he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants[ah] on his throne,[ai] 31 David by foreseeing this[aj] spoke about the resurrection of the Christ,[ak] that he was neither abandoned to Hades,[al] nor did his body[am] experience[an] decay.[ao] 32 This Jesus God raised up, and we are all witnesses of it.[ap] 33 So then, exalted[aq] to the right hand[ar] of God, and having received[as] the promise of the Holy Spirit[at] from the Father, he has poured out[au] what you both see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend into heaven, but he himself says,
The Response to Peter’s Address
37 Now when they heard this,[bc] they were acutely distressed[bd] and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “What should we do, brothers?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each one of you be baptized[be] in the name of Jesus Christ[bf] for[bg] the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.[bh] 39 For the promise[bi] is for you and your children, and for all who are far away, as many as the Lord our God will call to himself.” 40 With many other words he testified[bj] and exhorted them saying, “Save yourselves from this perverse[bk] generation!” 41 So those who accepted[bl] his message[bm] were baptized, and that day about 3,000 people[bn] were added.[bo]Read full chapter
- Acts 2:14 tn Grk “standing up.” The participle σταθείς (statheis) has been translated as a finite verb due to requirements of contemporary English style.
- Acts 2:14 tn Or “You Jewish men.” “Judea” is preferred here because it is paired with “Jerusalem,” a location. This suggests locality rather than ethnic background is the primary emphasis in the context. As for “men,” the Greek term here is ἀνήρ (anēr), which only exceptionally is used in a generic sense of both males and females. In this context, where “all” who live in Jerusalem are addressed, it is conceivable that this is a generic usage, although it can also be argued that Peter’s remarks were addressed primarily to the men present, even if women were there.
- Acts 2:14 tn Grk “let this be known to you.”
- Acts 2:15 tn Grk “These men are not drunk, as you suppose.”
- Acts 2:15 tn Grk “only the third hour.”
- Acts 2:16 sn Note how in the quotation that follows all genders, ages, and classes are included. The event is like a hope Moses expressed in Num 11:29.
- Acts 2:17 sn The phrase in the last days is not quoted from Joel, but represents Peter’s interpretive explanation of the current events as falling “in the last days.”
- Acts 2:17 tn Grk “on all flesh.”
- Acts 2:18 tn Grk “slaves.” Although this translation frequently renders δοῦλος (doulos) as “slave,” the connotation is often of one who has sold himself into slavery; in a spiritual sense, the idea is that of becoming a slave of God or of Jesus Christ voluntarily. The voluntary notion is conspicuous here; hence the translation “servants.” In any case, the word does not bear the connotation of a free individual serving another. BDAG notes that “‘servant’ for ‘slave’ is largely confined to Biblical transl. and early American times…in normal usage at the present time the two words are carefully distinguished” (BDAG 260 s.v.). One good translation is “bondservant” (sometimes found in the ASV for δοῦλος) in that it often indicates one who sells himself into slavery to another. But as this is archaic, few today understand its force.
- Acts 2:18 sn The words and they will prophesy in Acts 2:18 are not quoted from Joel 2:29 at this point but are repeated from earlier in the quotation (Acts 2:17) for emphasis. Tongues speaking is described as prophecy, just like intelligible tongues are described in 1 Cor 14:26-33.
- Acts 2:19 tn Or “in the heaven.” The Greek word οὐρανός (ouranos) may be translated “sky” or “heaven” depending on the context. Here, in contrast to “the earth below,” a reference to the sky is more likely.
- Acts 2:19 tn Here the context indicates the miraculous nature of the signs mentioned; this is made explicit in the translation.
- Acts 2:20 tn Or “and wonderful.”
- Acts 2:21 tn Grk “And it will be that.”
- Acts 2:21 sn A quotation from Joel 2:28-32.
- Acts 2:22 tn Or “Israelite men,” although this is less natural English. The Greek term here is ἀνήρ (anēr), which only exceptionally is used in a generic sense of both males and females. In this context, it is conceivable that this is a generic usage, although it can also be argued that Peter’s remarks were addressed primarily to the men present, even if women were there.
- Acts 2:22 tn Or “miraculous deeds.”
- Acts 2:22 tn Again, the context indicates the miraculous nature of these signs, and this is specified in the translation.
- Acts 2:23 tn Or “you killed.”
- Acts 2:23 tn Grk “at the hands of lawless men.” At this point the term ἄνομος (anomos) refers to non-Jews who live outside the Jewish (Mosaic) law, rather than people who broke any or all laws including secular laws. Specifically it is a reference to the Roman soldiers who carried out Jesus’ crucifixion.
- Acts 2:24 tn Grk “Whom God raised up.”
- Acts 2:24 tn Or “having freed.”
- Acts 2:24 sn The term translated pains is frequently used to describe pains associated with giving birth (see Rev 12:2). So there is irony here in the mixed metaphor.
- Acts 2:24 tn Or “for him to be held by it” (in either case, “it” refers to death’s power).
- Acts 2:25 tn Or “always before me.”
- Acts 2:26 tn Grk “my flesh.”
- Acts 2:27 tn Or “will not abandon my soul to Hades.” Often “Hades” is the equivalent of the Hebrew term Sheol, the place of the dead.
- Acts 2:27 tn Grk “to see,” but the literal translation of the phrase “to see decay” could be misunderstood to mean simply “to look at decay,” while here “see decay” is really figurative for “experience decay.”
- Acts 2:28 sn A quotation from Ps 16:8-11.
- Acts 2:29 tn Since this represents a continuation of the address beginning in v.14 and continued in v. 22, “brothers” has been used here rather than a generic expression like “brothers and sisters.”
- Acts 2:29 sn Peter’s certainty is based on well-known facts.
- Acts 2:29 tn Or “about our noted ancestor,” “about the patriarch.”
- Acts 2:30 tn The participles ὑπάρχων (huparchōn) and εἰδώς (eidōs) are translated as causal adverbial participles.
- Acts 2:30 tn Grk “one from the fruit of his loins.” “Loins” is the traditional translation of ὀσφῦς (osphus), referring to the male genital organs. A literal rendering like “one who came from his genital organs” would be regarded as too specific and perhaps even vulgar by many contemporary readers. Most modern translations thus render the phrase “one of his descendants.”
- Acts 2:30 sn An allusion to Ps 132:11 and 2 Sam 7:12-13, the promise in the Davidic covenant.
- Acts 2:31 tn Grk “David foreseeing spoke.” The participle προϊδών (proidōn) is taken as indicating means. It could also be translated as a participle of attendant circumstance: “David foresaw [this] and spoke.” The word “this” is supplied in either case as an understood direct object (direct objects in Greek were often omitted, but must be supplied for the modern English reader).
- Acts 2:31 tn Or “the Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”sn The term χριστός (christos) was originally an adjective (“anointed”), developing in LXX into a substantive (“an anointed one”), then developing still further into a technical generic term (“the anointed one”). In the intertestamental period it developed further into a technical term referring to the hoped-for anointed one, that is, a specific individual. In the NT the development starts there (technical-specific), is so used in the gospels, and then develops in Paul’s letters to mean virtually Jesus’ last name.
- Acts 2:31 tn Or “abandoned in the world of the dead.” The translation “world of the dead” for Hades is suggested by L&N 1.19. The phrase is an allusion to Ps 16:10.
- Acts 2:31 tn Grk “flesh.” See vv. 26b-27. The reference to “body” in this verse picks up the reference to “body” in v. 26. The Greek term σάρξ (sarx) in both verses literally means “flesh”; however, the translation “body” stresses the lack of decay of his physical body. The point of the verse is not merely the lack of decay of his flesh alone, but the resurrection of his entire person, as indicated by the previous parallel line “he was not abandoned to Hades.”
- Acts 2:31 tn Grk “see,” but the literal translation of the phrase “see decay” could be misunderstood to mean simply “look at decay,” while here “see decay” is really figurative for “experience decay.”
- Acts 2:31 sn An allusion to Ps 16:10.
- Acts 2:32 tn Or “of him”; Grk “of which [or whom] we are all witnesses” (Acts 1:8).
- Acts 2:33 tn The aorist participle ὑψωθείς (hupsōtheis) could be taken temporally: “So then, after he was exalted…” In the translation the more neutral “exalted” (a shorter form of “having been exalted”) was used to preserve the ambiguity of the original Greek.
- Acts 2:33 sn The expression the right hand of God represents supreme power and authority. Its use here sets up the quotation of Ps 110:1 in v. 34.
- Acts 2:33 tn The aorist participle λαβών (labōn) could be taken temporally: “So then, after he was exalted…and received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit.” In the translation the more neutral “having received” was used to preserve the ambiguity of the original Greek.
- Acts 2:33 tn Here the genitive τοῦ πνεύματος (tou pneumatos) is a genitive of apposition; the promise consists of the Holy Spirit.
- Acts 2:33 sn The use of the verb poured out looks back to 2:17-18, where the same verb occurs twice.
- Acts 2:34 sn Sit at my right hand. The word “sit” alludes back to the promise of “seating one on his throne” in v. 30.
- Acts 2:35 sn The metaphor make your enemies a footstool portrays the complete subjugation of the enemies.
- Acts 2:35 sn A quotation from Ps 110:1, one of the most often-cited OT passages in the NT, pointing to the exaltation of Jesus.
- Acts 2:36 tn Or “know for certain.” This term is in an emphatic position in the clause.
- Acts 2:36 tn Grk “has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” The clause has been simplified in the translation by replacing the pronoun “him” with the explanatory clause “this Jesus whom you crucified” which comes at the end of the sentence.
- Acts 2:36 sn Lord. This looks back to the quotation of Ps 110:1 and the mention of “calling on the Lord” in 2:21. Peter’s point is that the Lord on whom one calls for salvation is Jesus, because he is the one mediating God’s blessing of the Spirit as a sign of the presence of salvation and the last days.
- Acts 2:36 tn Or “and Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”sn See the note on Christ in 2:31.
- Acts 2:37 tn The word “this” is not in the Greek text. Direct objects were often omitted in Greek, but must be supplied for the modern English reader.
- Acts 2:37 tn Grk “they were pierced to the heart” (an idiom for acute emotional distress).
- Acts 2:38 tn The verb is a third person imperative, but the common translation “let each of you be baptized” obscures the imperative force in English, since it sounds more like a permissive (“each of you may be baptized”) to the average English reader.
- Acts 2:38 tn Or “Messiah”; both “Christ” (Greek) and “Messiah” (Hebrew and Aramaic) mean “one who has been anointed.”sn In the name of Jesus Christ. Baptism in Messiah Jesus’ name shows how much authority he possesses.
- Acts 2:38 tn There is debate over the meaning of εἰς in the prepositional phrase εἰς ἄφεσιν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ὑμῶν (eis aphesin tōn hamartiōn humōn, “for/because of/with reference to the forgiveness of your sins”). Although a causal sense has been argued, it is difficult to maintain here. ExSyn 369-71 discusses at least four other ways of dealing with the passage: (1) The baptism referred to here is physical only, and εἰς has the meaning of “for” or “unto.” Such a view suggests that salvation is based on works—an idea that runs counter to the theology of Acts, namely: (a) repentance often precedes baptism (cf. Acts 3:19; 26:20), and (b) salvation is entirely a gift of God, not procured via water baptism (Acts 10:43 [cf. v. 47]; 13:38-39, 48; 15:11; 16:30-31; 20:21; 26:18); (2) The baptism referred to here is spiritual only. Although such a view fits well with the theology of Acts, it does not fit well with the obvious meaning of “baptism” in Acts—especially in this text (cf. 2:41); (3) The text should be repunctuated in light of the shift from second person plural to third person singular back to second person plural again. The idea then would be, “Repent for/with reference to your sins, and let each one of you be baptized…” Such a view is an acceptable way of handling εἰς, but its subtlety and awkwardness count against it; (4) Finally, it is possible that to a first-century Jewish audience (as well as to Peter), the idea of baptism might incorporate both the spiritual reality and the physical symbol. That Peter connects both closely in his thinking is clear from other passages such as Acts 10:47 and 11:15-16. If this interpretation is correct, then Acts 2:38 is saying very little about the specific theological relationship between the symbol and the reality, only that historically they were viewed together. One must look in other places for a theological analysis. For further discussion see R. N. Longenecker, “Acts,” EBC 9:283-85; B. Witherington, Acts, 154-55; F. F. Bruce, The Acts of the Apostles: The Greek Text with Introduction and Commentary, 129-30; BDAG 290 s.v. εἰς 4.f.
- Acts 2:38 tn Here the genitive τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος (tou hagiou pneumatos) is a genitive of apposition; the gift consists of the Holy Spirit.
- Acts 2:39 sn The promise refers to the promise of the Holy Spirit that Jesus received from the Father in 2:33 and which he now pours out on others. The promise consists of the Holy Spirit (see note in 2:33). Jesus is the active mediator of God’s blessing.
- Acts 2:40 tn Or “warned.”
- Acts 2:40 tn Or “crooked” (in a moral or ethical sense). See Luke 3:5.
- Acts 2:41 tn Or “who acknowledged the truth of.”
- Acts 2:41 tn Grk “word.”
- Acts 2:41 tn Grk “souls” (here an idiom for the whole person).
- Acts 2:41 tn Or “were won over.”