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Acts 2 The truth and the fiction of my story

Updated on June 19, 2013

Here is the link to the original story I wrote about Acts 2.

A good imagination is a useful tool in studying the Bible. Putting yourself into the story, imagining the setting, hearing the sounds, and picturing the people can all enhance your understanding of what is happening. Once you immerse yourself in the scene, you can think about how you would feel or react in the same situation. This will help the words take on new meaning, and help you apply the words to your own life. It is also one of my favorite ways to write about the Bible; from inside the story.

However, it is important to recognize that our imaginations are not the inspired Word of God. When reading stories like mine, or thinking of our own imagined scenarios, it is vital to distinguish where absolute truth leaves off, and human interpretation begins. Human speculations can always be wrong, and sometimes we just don’t know what it was really like to be there.

For example, last year I wrote a hub on Acts 2. It is the story of a foreign Jew who is visiting Jerusalem for the Pentecost and is a witness to the disciples receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. The facts as they are found in the Bible are absolutely true. The history of the Pentecost is accurate to the best of my ability based on the research I was able to do. The rest is my imagination. The main character is my own creation. What he sees is how I envisioned the events. And his thoughts and feelings mirror how I think I would react in a similar situation. It is possible that there was someone there that reflected my character, but it is also possible that there was not.

Recently I heard a sermon on the story that gave a whole different perspective of the events. My pastor suggested that this all happened in the Temple instead of a house, as I envisioned. While clarifying that he might be wrong, my pastor gave several reasons to back up his theory. To begin with, the marvel took place around 9am; the time Jews went to the temple to pray. Also, we know that there were thousands of people there when the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit. It is easy to see that there is a lot more room for that many people at the temple than outside of a house, or even in a very large courtyard. The Temple was also the center of Jewish worship. It would make sense that the people, who traveled from all over the world to celebrate the holiday, would make their way to the temple.

But wait you say. The Bible specifically says that they were in a house. In fact every translation I looked at said they were in a house, except the Aramaic Bible in Plain English, which says “Suddenly there was from Heaven a sound like a mighty wind and the whole place in which they were sitting was filled with it.” But what is interesting to note is that the Greek word for house, oikos, is also used in Luke 11:51 in referring to the house of God; or the temple.

Here we have a situation in which either picture could be correct and there are respected commentaries touting both claims. The point I want to make is that both theories are based on speculation. As far as I know, there are no eyewitness accounts, which have survived, from someone who was actually there that tell us where exactly the disciples were gathered. We are free to enjoy our own opinions on the matter of exactly where these events took place without it affecting the truth of the story or the amazing gift we are given in the Holy Spirit.

Too many people get caught up in arguing over unimportant theories of what the Bible means, which are founded in speculation, and miss out on the powerful truth it actually contains. Please don’t let that be you.


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