Monday, April 01, 2024

Acts 2:2 and 2:3

2  καὶ ἐγένετο . . . . and it happened

ἄφνω ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ . . . . . suddenly out of the heaven

ἦχος . . . . a sound

ὥσπερ φερομένης πνοῆς βιαίας . . . . like of a moving wind violent

καὶ ἐπλήρωσεν . . . .  and it filled

ὅλον τὸν οἶκον . . . . all the house

οὗ ἦσαν καθήμενοι, . . . . where they were sitting


3  καὶ ὤφθησαν αὐτοῖς  . . . . and there was seen by them

διαμεριζόμεναι γλῶσσαι . . . . distributing tongues

ὡσεὶ πυρός, . . . . as of fire

καὶ ἐκάθισεν . . . . and it sat

ἐφ’ ἕνα ἕκαστον αὐτῶν, . . . . on one each of them


2  Suddenly a sound like a rushing wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.

3  And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.


Comments on vocabulary and idiom:  

1  The common phrase 'καὶ ἐγένετο' often means something like 'then this happened', without  adding much else.  The form ἐγένετο is used about 200 times in the New Testament.

2  The English 'echo' derives from ὁ ἦχος ('sound', 'report')   

3  The adjective βίαιος, -α, -ον, 'violent', is a hapax legomenon.

4  The use of the word γλῶσσα in Greek is fairly similar to its usage in English: it can refer to the physical tongue, or to a language.  

Note, however, that there are variations on these two themes, as seen here: 'tongues' of fire presumably refers to the shape of flames.  In addition, 'tongue' can stand in for 'speech', as in James 1:26:

Εἴ τις δοκεῖ θρησκὸς εἶναι, μὴ χαλιναγωγῶν γλῶσσαν ἑαυτοῦ ἀλλὰ ἀπατῶν καρδίαν ἑαυτοῦ, τούτου μάταιος ἡ θρησκεία.

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not bridle his tongue, he deceives his heart and his religion is worthless.


1  The participle φερομένης (feminine singular genitive, present middle/passive) is a form of the fairly common verb φέρω, which usually means something like 'I bring', 'I produce', 'I bear'.  When Jesus' disciples bring him a colt on Palm Sunday, this is the verb used:

καὶ φέρουσιν τὸν πῶλον πρὸς τὸν Ἰησοῦν  (Mark 11:7)

The use of φερομένης here is a bit more difficult to figure out, with the participle being typically translated as 'rushing', 'blowing'.  The adjective βιαίας adds to the sense of a strong wind.

2  Ah, ὤφθησαν.  Where do I start?  The verb forms for 'seeing' are varied; in this case ὤφθησαν is parsed as 3-P, aorist passive indicative of ὁράω.  Note that these forms are also listed under ὁράω:

ἰδού  (single most common, at about 200 uses in the NT)




So - do not be surprised if ὤφθησαν is unfamiliar.  This is its only use (i.e., this particular form) in the New Testament.

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