Acts 2:42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (English Standard Version)
The first two chapters of the book of Acts, uses the word “they” several times and I want to make sure we identify this collection of individuals in the way as intended by the text. Many assume that “they” were those who made up the very earliest church, the Church atJerusalem.
But I want to pose the question, who were “they”. Or to put it another way, who was the “they” described in the second chapter of acts which begins by telling us that “they” were all with one accord in one place. By the way, for some reason, the NIV and the ESV omit the reference to one accord even though it is included in the Greek New Testament and the Textus Receptus.
Let’s begin with Chapter One.
It would appear that the first “they” of Acts are the 11 and were gathered according to Acts 1:6 and were according to Acts 1:2 “the apostles whom he did choose out” (YLT)
So it would appear that this first “they” referred to the 11 apostles, handpicked by Jesus Himself. The number grows quickly and they are named in verse 13 to include Mary and the brothers of Jesus and are identified as “these all” in Acts 1:14. Acts 1:15 then tells us that Peter stood up among the disciples (brothers in the ESV) and began the work of replacing Judas. It is at that point we are told that the total of “names” was 120. Peter declared that in the prophecy by David, Judas would need to be replaced and it would be up to them to do that. Matthias was chosen and in that process, we may have the definition of Apostle as one who was a witness of the resurrection.
Suddenly on the day of Pentecost, the beginning of the public ministry of the Holy Spirit begins. The sound as of a mighty rushing wind and the tongues of fire is the announcement. And “they” were filled with the Holy Spirit who gave them the ability to speak with languages that were not their own. We might assume that “they” moved from the house into the street where others could hear them speak in their own native language.
Note that while some were mocking, verse 12 tells us that some were amazed and had a desire to understand exactly what was taking place. Even today there are those who will hear us and there are skeptics. Peter’s evangel begins by quoting the prophet Joel. And it would appear that he may be at the same time, demarking the ‘beginning’ of the ‘last days’.
In verse 22 Peter begins to give the basis of his Evangel. In verse 33, he then refers to the promise of the Holy Spirit as given by Jesus during His earthly ministry.
In verse 37, “they” appears to be a reference to those who heard the evangel and wanted to know what to do and Peter told them to repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus and “you too shall receive the Holy Spirit.”
Then in verse 41 we are told that those who accepted Peter’s ‘word’ were baptized and were added. To what were they added?
To be continued.