Acts 2:14

Thursday, 4 November 2021

But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. Acts 2:14

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).

The disciples were just accused of being full of new wine. In other words, they were thought to be drunk and were simply talking in gibberish. However, Luke describes what next took place, saying, “But Peter.”

As is customary with Peter, he takes the lead in what happens. In this case, he is prepared to address the crowd. As such, Luke notes his action as “standing up with the eleven.” The verb is aorist and indicates they stood first (“having stood”) and then Peter began to speak for all of them. This is probably to counter what was just said about them being drunk. When all stood, it shows that they are all clearly sober rather than swaying or falling down. As a side note, these words also are a confirmation that the selection of Matthias was fully accepted by the Lord, he being counted among the eleven. With this, it next says that Peter “raised his voice.”

In raising his voice, it will be clearly heard. As such, what he says will reflect the state of his mind, whether sober or drunk. If his words had no slurring or elongation of the vowels, they could no longer claim he was full of sweet wine. Luke is carefully describing what occurred in order to reveal what is going on. With his voice lifted up, it next says, “and said to them.”

The translation leaves a void in what is going on. It should say something like, “he spoke forth to them,” or something more distinct like that. It is the same word introduced in Acts 2:4, apophtheggomai, where it was translated as “utterance,” meaning of the Holy Spirit. As noted then, the word refers to a clear and plain enunciation, a declaration, and a speaking forth. The words are clearly conveyed, perfectly understood, and have precise meaning. The word will be used one more time when describing what Paul says in Acts 26:25 –

“But he said, ‘I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak the words of truth and reason.’”

Luke, who authored Acts, uses this word to indicate that Peter is speaking clearly and intelligibly, and he is tying the utterance of the Spirit of verse 2:4 to what Peter is saying now. Peter is being given the proper words to utter forth (and this will be clearly seen in his discourse) in order to defend the truth of what has occurred in Christ, and what is continuing to occur in fulfillment of Scripture.

With this understood, the words of Peter are next recorded, saying, “Men of Judea.” The Greek literally reads, “Men, Jews.” Thus, this is probably not simply referring to those of Judea (remember that “Judea” was listed along with all of the other categories in verses 2:9-11). Rather, this is speaking to all of the people there, gathered from everywhere that was mentioned. They are all jointly termed “Men, Jews.” With that stated, Peter then includes those who are the most local of all, saying, “and all who dwell in Jerusalem.” This would then be an all-inclusive statement regarding everyone within earshot which would be inclusive of the strangers and the proselytes. Whoever could hear the voice of Peter is being called to attend to his words. With this understood, he next says, “let this be known to you.”

What he will say is something that can be understood, even if the previous words could not be. Only the one who spoke the particular language or dialect could perceive what was said through the tongues, but what will now be said is something that would be perfectly clear and stated with purpose. Peter’s words call for attention. But more, the verse finishes with, “and heed my words.”

Here is a word found only this once in Scripture, enótizomai. It is an aorist verb in the middle voice signifying “to take into one’s ear.” As such, it means to listen attentively. The Spirit had uttered, and the people had listened to the sound, claiming it was the result of too much wine. On the contrary, this was to be a discourse that should be taken into the ear and carefully evaluated in the brain once it was there. Everything about Luke’s description of this verse is exceedingly detailed to bring forth a clear understanding of what occurred at the time.

Life application: Even if you don’t understand the original languages that the Bible was written in, it is still a good practice to do word studies when possible, to find unusual or unique words used there. In becoming familiar with these, one can then attempt to think through why a particular word is used at a particular time, and then how that may then tie into other times the word is used. Or, if it is used only once, it may highlight the need to think through why that word was used at all.

This is not a necessary thing to do, but it is something that will help the student of the Bible to at least grow in knowledge and understanding. At the same time, we shouldn’t leap to unjustifiable conclusions about words in order to form our own doctrines or to line things up with our own presuppositions. This is an easy thing to do, and so we need to be careful to not do so.

In the end, it is good to follow along with word studies that have been evaluated by scholars before us, read commentaries on verses and passages by those who have come to their own conclusions, and then we should think on what we have read without simply accepting their evaluations at face value. Do everything with the mindset that this is the word of God, that He has a reason for everything that is included in it, and that you will do your best to evaluate it without inserting biases into the word. Instead, attempt to draw out the intended meaning from it.

Heavenly Father, Your word is precious and it has set meaning and intent. Help us to not insert our own presuppositions into it, but to draw out from it the meaning that You intend to be conveyed. Give us the mind to seek You with all our heart and soul through meditation on Your word. May it fill us with Your wisdom, O God. Amen.