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Scripture Story: Acts 2:1-39.

Commentary: The Acts of the Apostles (or Unlikely Leaders), chapters 4, 5.

the promised gift

Photo by Colleen Cahill


“Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be 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 other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.” (Acts 2:2-4, NIV)


“It is not a conclusive evidence that a man is a Christian because he manifests spiritual ecstasy under extraordinary circumstances. Holiness is not rapture: it is an entire surrender of the will to God; it is living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God; it is doing the will of our heavenly Father; it is trusting God in trial, in darkness as well as in the light; it is walking by faith and not by sight; it is relying on God with unquestioning confidence, and resting in His love” (The Acts of the Apostles, p. 51).

what do you think?

In Luke 11:13 Jesus made the analogy of God being our Father.

1. He said if we know how to give good gifts to our children, how much more will God be willing to give us the Holy Spirit. How do you feel about this?
2. What does the Holy Spirit give you that you should care about?
3. What does the Holy Spirit have to offer to a teenager? |
4. Why should you want the Holy Spirit?

did you know?

In gift-giving, there is something called the “deadweight cost,” a term coined by Joel Waldfogel, an economics professor at the University of Pennsylvania. When you spend $50 on a present, the person receiving the present does not necessarily value the gift at the $50 you spent. They might see the item in the store and think, That’s not worth $50! I wouldn’t spend more than $20! That is a $30 deadweight loss. How much do we value the gift of the Holy Spirit?


“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be 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 other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

“Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. Utterly amazed, they asked: ‘Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia , Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!’ Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, ‘What does this mean?’

“Some, however, made fun of them and said, ‘They have had too much wine.’

“Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: ‘. . . God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said, “The Lord said to my Lord: ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.’” Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.’

“When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, ‘Brothers, what shall we do?’

“Peter replied, ‘Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.’” (Acts 2:1-39, NIV)


What did the Holy Spirit do for the disciples?

How did the people respond to Peter’s sermon?

Do you think the disciples felt they had gained something personally from the Holy Spirit, or only something to use for helping others?

The people who witnessed the result of this great outpouring of the Holy Spirit had different reactions. What were they?

If you had been a witness of this event, how would you have reacted?

What did Peter say the people needed to do in order to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit? Why do you think that’s important?

punch lines

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own” (1 Corinthians 6:19, NIV).

“I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11, NIV).

“Then his people recalled the days of old, the days of Moses and his people—where is he who brought them through the sea, with the shepherd of his flock? Where is he who set his Holy Spirit among them?” (Isaiah 63:11, NIV).

“And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us” (Romans 5:5, NIV).

“His father Zechariah was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied” (Luke 1:67, NIV).

further insight

“The promise of the Holy Spirit is not limited to any age or to any race. Christ declared that the divine influence of His Spirit was to be with His followers unto the end.” —Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 49



Read Romans 5:5.

Why would you personally want the Holy Spirit? What benefit is there for you?

Romans 5:5 tells us that the Holy Spirit puts God’s love into our hearts, giving us hope. What do you hope for in the future? What is your deepest desire?

Many people long for a loving, lasting relationship here on earth. We know that we can have that kind of relationship with God, but it doesn’t take away our human need for companionship. When the Holy Spirit fills us with God’s love, we are able to love others and experience healthier, closer, less selfish relationships. How can doing it God’s way give us happiness that will last for the rest of our lives?


Read Acts 2:14-21.

When God poured out the Holy Spirit, His people began to do amazing things! Those who saw them reacted in some very different ways. Some were shocked, and others mocked, “They’re drunk!” People often make fun of things they don’t understand. Have you ever been made fun of for being different? What should be your response as a Christian? See Peter’s answer in today’s reading.


Read Acts 2:2-4.

In the Key Text we see the Holy Spirit giving them the gift of speaking foreign languages.

We don’t always have the need for foreign languages in our day-to-day lives, but we do have the need to communicate with people we might otherwise not be able to connect with. Do you ever find it uncomfortable talking to older people? Are there groups of kids at school that you just “don’t get”? People don’t have to come from different countries to speak foreign languages to each other. The Holy Spirit is able to bridge those gaps and be a translator between people. God wants us to be able to understand each other and to connect with each other. How else can someone see God in you and want what you have? Ask God to give you the gift of “foreign languages” today!


Read 1 Peter 4:11.

Sometimes Christians make the mistake of believing that in order to truly be a Christian, they have to experience some sort of rapturous experience, falling down or speaking in an unknown language while in a trance. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Being a Christian is a lot more “everyday life” than that. We have to believe in Jesus, love Him, and do our best to follow Him. In what “everyday” ways can you trust God today?


Read 1 Corinthians 6:19.

God has promised us the gift of the Holy Spirit. He gives us gifts that will fulfill our deepest desires and bring us lasting happiness. God knows them. God created you with particular needs, and He wants you to turn to Him to meet those needs. When God promises us the gift of the Holy Spirit, we should know that the Holy Spirit will both make us a blessing to others and bless us, too! What are your deepest desires? Are you ready to see what God has been saving for you?


Read Psalm 139:7-10.

Does the Holy Spirit work only in evangelistic events and at Bible studies? Is the Holy Spirit interested only in the unconverted, or is He interested in you, too? What ways do you think the Holy Spirit would like to be involved in your everyday life?


Read Matthew 3:11.

After studying this week, how can you see the Holy Spirit working in your life? What more would you like to be able to do with His help? Your peace and your joy are a great witness of what God does for you. Are you brave enough to ask God for His Spirit and watch to see what amazing things He has in store? How can you be an example of an awesome experience with God to the people around you?

Texts credited to NIV are from the Holy Bible, New International Version. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

this week’s reading*

The Acts of the Apostles (or Unlikely Leaders), chapters 4, 5.

*Unlikely Leaders is a special adaptation of The Acts of the Apostles created for you by the Ellen G. White Estate and Pacific Press. Get more information about it at By following the weekly reading plan, you will read at least one book of the Conflict of the Ages Series each year.