Daily Word

Language miracle | Acts 2:5-13

5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language.

7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

Acts 2:5-13 (ESV) 中文

Together waiting

So the disciples are obedient to Jesus’ command to get together and wait for the coming of the Holy Spirit. This would power their discipleship and evangelism to the whole world (Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8). The Spirit has come and what are the results?

Efficient fulfillment

Jesus’ command to the apostles was when the Spirit came, He would empower them to be His witnesses in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). Guess what? The commission was fulfilled – or started to be. The furthest parts of the world all were in Jerusalem – devout men, i.e., serious seekers of Jehovah (v6). They saw the Spirit working, heard the gospel, then believed as we’ll see later. It’s likely that many of them returned to their homes at some point…with the gospel!

Language miracle

The apostles (and likely everyone in the upper room) were speaking in other known languages. This was a miracle. They weren’t speaking in unintelligible prayer languages(*) because the devout men from other nations could understand. And it amazed them. Note that Greek was lingua franca for Jews then like the English is today in most of the world so they could communicate with one another.

The language miracle had many purposes including – to demonstrate the power of the Spirit, to fulfill what Jesus promised, and to communicate the truths of God to these devout men from all over the world that they might be saved.

New wine

The ESV use of “new wine” as a euphemism for “drunk” (v13) is especially helpful. Why? Because it harkens back to Jesus’ teaching about new wine. “Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins; otherwise the wineskins burst, and the wine pours out and the wineskins are ruined; but they put new wine into fresh wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:17). The Holy Spirit was “new wine” to fill these new believers with a new power from God previously unknown to reside permanently in man. More on this topic.

RЯeflection

  • What do you think about the work of the Holy Spirit and in particular, spiritual gifts – including tongues as in today’s passage? It’s good to think through it scripturally and, as Paul exhorts us, to seek the greater gifts (1 Corinthians 12:31).
  • (*) This can be a sensitive topic. The purpose of this site is not to specifically take a position but encourage Bible study leading to discernment and knowledge of God. This particular article does not favor the idea of prayer languages. If you have a post supporting prayer languages, feel free to add a comment.
New wine to new wineskins. Image from jesusfilm.org *

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