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The Catholic Study Bible A special version of the New American Bible, with a wealth of background information useful to Catholics.

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Commentary on Acts of the Apostles

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1, 26 :

The need to replace Judas was probably dictated by the symbolism of the number twelve, recalling the twelve tribes of Israel. This symbolism also indicates that for Luke (see Lk 22, 30 ) the Christian church is a reconstituted Israel.

2, 1–41 :

Luke's pentecostal narrative consists of an introduction ( 1–13 ), a speech ascribed to Peter declaring the resurrection of Jesus and its messianic significance ( 14–36 ), and a favorable response from the audience ( 37–41 ). It is likely that the narrative telescopes events that took place over a period of time and on a less dramatic scale. The Twelve were not originally in a position to proclaim publicly the messianic office of Jesus without incurring immediate reprisal from those religious authorities in Jerusalem who had brought about Jesus’ death precisely to stem the rising tide in his favor.

2, 2 :

There came from the sky a noise like a strong driving wind:wind and spirit are associated in Jn 3, 8 . The sound of a great rush of wind would herald a new action of God in the history of salvation.

2, 3 :

Tongues as of fire: see Ex 19, 18 where fire symbolizes the presence of God to initiate the covenant on Sinai. Here the holy Spirit acts upon the apostles, preparing them to proclaim the new covenant with its unique gift of the Spirit ( 38 ).

2, 4 :

To speak in different tongues:ecstatic prayer in praise of God, interpreted in vv 6 and 11 as speaking in foreign languages, symbolizing the worldwide mission of the church.

2, 14–36 :

The first of six discourses in Acts (along with 3, 12–26; 4, 8–12; 5, 29–32; 10, 34–43; 13, 16–41 ) dealing with the resurrection of Jesus and its messianic import. Five of these are attributed to Peter, the final one to Paul. Modern scholars term these discourses in Acts the “kerygma,” the Greek word for proclamation (cf l Cor 15, 11 ).

2, 33 :

At the right hand of God:or “by the right hand of God.”

2, 38 :

Repent and be baptized:repentance is a positive concept, a change of mind and heart toward God reflected in the actual goodness of one's life. It is in accord with the apostolic teaching derived from Jesus ( 42 ) and ultimately recorded in the four gospels. Luke presents baptism in Acts as the expected response to the apostolic preaching about Jesus and associates it with the conferring of the Spirit ( 1, 5; 10, 44–48; 11, 16 ).

2, 42–47 :

The first of three summary passages (along with 4, 32–37 and 5, 12–16 ) that outline, somewhat idyllically, the chief characteristics of the Jerusalem community: adherence to the teachings of the Twelve and the centering of its religious life in the eucharistic liturgy ( 42 ); a system of distribution of goods that led wealthier Christians to sell their possessions when the needs of the community's poor required it ( 44 and the note on 4, 32–37 ); and continued attendance at the temple, since in this initial stage there was little or no thought of any dividing line between Christianity and Judaism ( 46 ).

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