Summary of passage: On the day of Pentecost the 120 were all in one place (presumably praying still and waiting for the gift). A sound like a blowing violent wind came from heaven and filled the house where they were sitting. They saw tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in tongues through the power of the Holy Spirit.
A lot of people in Jerusalem heard this sound and came together to see what was happening. They were bewildered because each was speaking in his own language. They asked, “Aren’t these all Galileans? How is it we hear them in our own language? What does this mean?”
Some made fun of them and said they were drunk.
2a) Blowing of a violent wind
b) Tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them
c) All spoke in other tongues (foreign languages)
d) All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit
3a) In Acts, the Holy Spirit brought understanding. The believers (the 120 whom God blessed with the Holy Spirit) spoke in different languages so everyone could understand what was happening. In Genesis, the Lord gave the people different languages so they could not understand.
b) Personal Question. My answer: God is in control. God will use all His powers to reward and rebuke men. God will us all His powers to be understood; to be clear in what He likes and doesn’t like; to show He alone is God, omnipotent.
4) Because there were so many different nationalities with no common language. It was important God’s message and actions of giving the Holy Spirit was understood so its ramifications would be understood by all.
Conclusions: I found this lesson fairly straight-forward although I did read online different interpretations of the speaking in tongues, which albeit interesting, I didn’t quite believe.
One interesting thing I learned was Galileans were considered at that time to be poor speakers and uncultured, which contributed to the shock of the Jews when they could understand these believers.
We tend to think of speaking in tongues today as weird (which when overused or used incorrectly or is not from God is) but this example shows clearly it was originally from God and is acceptable as long as it remains so.
End Note: Yeah! Map Time! My favorite!
In my Bible Atlas (Zondervan’s Atlas of the Bible by Carl Rasmussen P. 218) there is a great map called “The Near East at the Time of Pentecost” with all the locations mentioned in this passage marked.
This map is the best one I can find and looks like the one in my Atlas:
My Atlas says these pilgrims had come to celebrate three Jewish festivals: Passover/Unleavened Bread, the Feast of Weeks, and the Feast of Tabernacles.