Acts 2:12

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

So they were all amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “Whatever could this mean?” Acts 2:12

Note: You can listen to today’s introduction courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen)

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

With his list of the many places where the pilgrims had come from, and of which all of them heard the disciples express “the wonderful work of God” in their own language and dialect, Luke next notes, “So they were all amazed and perplexed.”

The word translated as “amazed” is the same as was just used in verse 2:7. It signifies “to put out of place.” They were still unable to grasp what was happening. That state leads to the state of perplexity. The word translated as “perplexed” is only used by Luke, in Luke 9:7 and then three times in Acts. It gives the sense of being completely baffled or confused. It is the state when a person goes through every option, trying to find a solution to a matter, and no resolution comes forth. In this confused state, they were “saying to one another, ‘Whatever could this mean?’”

In their amazement, and in their inability to properly deduce the reason for what they were hearing, the question is obvious. When you can’t think something through yourself, you submit your question to others, hoping they will have a suitable answer.

Life application: It is in our nature to question the world around us. Johannes Kepler said that science is thinking God’s thoughts after Him. At times we will be confounded by something and go through a process of trying to determine what is happening. But in our thinking, we can make various kinds of errors.

Errors in thinking are known as fallacies. A fallacy is a mistaken idea or belief that is based on an unsound argument. Our minds follow certain paths of thinking that may not be logical. This is normally not intentional. Rather, we are not generally born with the skill of thinking critically. That must be developed.

At times, we may not understand something and so we will ascribe it to the miraculous, or to the providence of God. An example of this is when scientists see something highly unusual in their field of study that has no reasonable explanation. It is something that doesn’t fit any known scientific model. As such, they ascribe it to proof that God exists. This is known as the “God of the gaps” perspective. Something is happening, it is inexplicable by any other means, and therefore it must be God purposefully making it happen.

Unfortunately, this type of thinking can lead to real problems because someone will later come along and find a rational explanation for the event. When this happens, those who ascribed the gap to having been filled by God, have now become an embarrassment.

However, the exact opposite can occur as well. God (if He exists – and there is every reason to believe He does) is not incapable of doing the miraculous. For example, He may tell us about the future through prophecy. But some will dismiss any possibility of this happening. They are doing the exact opposite of the “God of the gaps” crowd by dismissing the hand of God in a matter that is clearly set forth by God.

For the Christian, we must be sound in our thinking in both directions. We must be careful to not ascribe to God something that is happening simply because we don’t understand it, or because someone says it is so. False tongues of Charismatics are such an example. However, we should not deny the hand of God when it is reasonably discernible that He has purposefully done something. Creation is such a thing. The giving of predictive prophecy (and the Bible is a book of predictive prophecy) is another.

And yet, not all predictive prophecy is of God. False prophets make claims all the time, even saying that what they submit is based on an evaluation of the Bible. Therefore, we must be extremely careful as we evaluate what God has done, is doing, and would/will do. Everything must be evaluated in accord with His nature and with a right application of His word.

If someone predicts the rapture, you can ignore him. Jesus clearly said in Acts 1 that we are not going to know the timing of such things. We may have a general idea of how the world is heading, but that is a logical evaluation based on what Scripture says about such things which can then be applied to our surroundings. However, this does not mean we can then pinpoint set events, like the rapture, that we have been told we will not know.

Be wise, be circumspect, and be willing to acknowledge that you don’t know everything, and neither does the guy who claims he does. Know-it-alls will get their comeuppance in due time.

Lord God, give us wisdom to look at the world around us in a rational and clear mind frame, knowing that Your hand created it, and so what will happen is logical and orderly. And yet, help us to never dismiss the miraculous if You choose to do something extraordinary for the benefit of Your people that is in accord with Your nature and Your word. Help us to have the mind that You are sovereign and that You will bring about the good end that You have promised us in whatever way You determine. Amen.