Acts 2 in the Pentecostal’s handbook gives the historical description of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Peter’s preaching representing the inauguration of the church and the description of the early church.


1 When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. 2 Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. 4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

  1. Pentecost (Festival of Weeks / Shavu’ot), a festival celebrating harvest time that came fifty days (Greek, “pente” or seven weeks) after passover, was one of the seven main feasts of Israel.
  2. From this time forward a pattern is seen in the book of Acts: (1) The baptism of the Holy Spirit is given after regeneration (Acts 1:5 & John 20:22) and then (2) People speak in unlearned languages / tongues (Acts 10:44-46 & 19:5-6).
  3. Notice that “all” the disciples were filled with the Spirit and given the same experience (v. 4).

5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” 12 Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, “What does this mean?” 13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”

  1. The supernatural gifts of unlearned tongues was understood by the many different nations represented at the festival.
  2. From this point forward there is no mention in any of the other experiences of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, evidenced with speaking in other tongues, that the hearers understood them without another operating in the spiritual gift of “interpretation of tongues” (1 Corinthians 14:28).
  3. I have been used in this rare manifestation on two separate occasions when people from India understood my prayer language in their language. Here is a testimony from a person who witnessed one of the occasions.
  4. Also, according to Paul, tongues is primarily meant to be a form of worship and prayer not understood by men. Only when it is given as a message with interpretation does it have the same function as prophecy (1 Corinthians 14:2,4,15).

14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! 16 No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

17 “‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. 18 Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. 19 I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. 20 The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. 21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’”

  1. Peter’s reference is from Joel 2:28-32.
  2. Peter uses the interpretative method of, “Now and Not Yet.”
  3. Basically, Joel combined the description of the church age (vs. 17-18) and God’s end time judgment (vs. 19-20).

22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.

25 David said about him: “‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope, 27 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, you will not let your holy one see decay. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’

29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne.

31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he [Jesus] has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.

34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, “‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”’ 36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

  1. Peter explained to them that Jesus’ crucifixion was always apart of God’s plan. Just like with Joseph in Genesis 50:20, God used the freewill choices of wicked people to bring about His plan of deliverance (vs. 22-24).
  2. Peter’s first quote from David was from Psalm 16:8-11 and applied to Jesus (the Messiah) because He was sinless, raised from dead and now He can forever reign on David’s throne (2 Samuel 7:16).
  3. Peter’s second quote from David was from Psalm 110:1, which was Jesus’ main psalm to teach His divinity and pre-existence (Mark 12:35-37). Great in-depth article on this Psalm.
  4. Peter’s declaration of Jesus being “both Lord and Messiah” in v. 36 is powerful because it affirmed Jesus’ divinity (Joel 2:32).

37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.

  1. Peter concluded with a call to repentance after the crowd asked what they must do to be saved.
  2. Peter neither taught salvation by works nor another way to baptize then what Jesus taught in Matthew 28:19. Faith and repentance were key concepts that the disciples taught in regards to salvation, sometimes emphasizing one over the other according to the need of their audience (Acts 15:9 & 20:21). And baptizing “in the name of Jesus Christ” meant in His authority, in contrast to “John’s Baptism” as mentioned in Acts 19:3.
  3. Peter made it clear that the “gift of the Holy Spirit” is a promise “for all whom the Lord our God will call;” in other words, “unto the end of the age.”