The text of Acts 2.41. The verse has two independent statements: They were baptized ... and Souls were added. Seems to me that this verse says nothing about how many actually received Peter's message gladly and were baptized. Rather, aren't we only informed of the approximate number of that that were added?

  • Do you have a particular problem with the idea of round numbers? – Ruminator Jan 18 '19 at 18:01
  • I understand that approximately 3,000 souls were added to [the church.] However, I am trying to prove whether it is correct to say that we do not know how many gladly received the word and were baptized. That we only know approximately that 3,000 of those were added to the church. I've found not one remark that directly addresses this matter. Everyone glosses over this as if the verse says that 3,000 gladly heard the word, were baptized and added. But, as far as I can tell, it does not say that. Hope that makes sense.\ – Craig Thurman Jan 18 '19 at 18:24
  • Sorry Craig but I don't understand the concern. Is it that people assume the number to be exact that troubles you? – Ruminator Jan 18 '19 at 18:54
  • Are you implying that possibly more than 3000 people received the Word but an undisclosed amount of them did not remain in the local Jerusalem Church. Therefore questioning if those added to the church were added to the universal Church body and 3,000 is the total number or merely to the local Jerusalem church and the number is 3,000+. I think you should also reference Exodus 32:28 which mirrors the Acts 2 passage but interesting observation. I hadn’t picked up on that detail. – Nihil Sine Deo Jan 18 '19 at 19:01
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    Mr. Constantin I am with you partly. I'm no universal church person. But yes, I am saying that there were more that rec'd the word and were baptized than those which were added. Both the occasion, Pentecost, and the grammar would agree. But every commentary I read glosses over the text. – Craig Thurman Jan 18 '19 at 19:15

I would translate Acts 2:41 as: "The ones having embraced/welcomed the Word [= Logos] of him [= Peter] were baptised, and were added that day about 3000 souls/persons."

There are several features of this fascinating text that bear comment:

  • The symbol of addition to the Christian community/congregation was baptism/immersion
  • There is possibly a deliberate ambiguity or pun that people embraced Peter's message which is described as "ton logon" (= the Word). Exactly the same phrase is used in John 1:1 to describe Jesus as the Word. Thus, were people welcoming Peter's message or Christ? Clearly both are intended.
  • It is also useful to note that it is on the basis that people embraced or welcomed the Word that people were baptised; and that such a reception resulted from old fashioned preaching of Christ and the word.
  • What the text does NOT say is whether these 3000 new converts, who were baptised, only heard the message that day and decided on the spot. It is entirely possible that many had head at least part of the message previously and Peter's sermon finally convinced them. That is, some may have been exposed to Christianity earlier and were not yet convinced nor converted; we are not told. Some may have decided on the spot.
  • The text also says that only those who welcomed/embraced (literally received warmly) the Word were baptised.
  • This verse should not be divorced from the following verse that describes what these new believers did: "they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching, and fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayers." This was evidence of genuine conversion following baptism and accession to the Christian community.
  • Hi Mac. I think your last point is the "clincher". Maybe you should make that more prominent and quote the actual verse for those less familiar with it. Thanks and +1 – Ruminator Jan 18 '19 at 20:07
  • Brother Mac, but the question was not answered. Does the verse state that 3,000 gladly heard the word, were baptized, AND were added. Or, does it say that in effect that ‘though we don’t know how many gladly heard the word and were baptized, we know that 3,000 were added [to the church that was previously numbered at about 120]? It seems to me that there is a great ‘assumption’ being superimposed upon this verse. – Craig Thurman Jan 19 '19 at 16:57
  • In that case I am mystified as to what the question is. The verse says that "The ones having embraced the Word of [Peter] were baptised, and were added that day about 3000 souls/persons." What could be simpler? Are you trying to read something here that does not exist? – user25930 Jan 19 '19 at 21:20
  • Greetings 'Mac's Musings. Sorry, I don't mean to add confusion. My point is being missed. Can we apply the number 3,000 to those which were baptized? If so, why not to those which asked the question, Men and brethren, what shall we do (v.37) Aren't we imposing a sense into the text than is there? The naked statements read: 'The ones receiving were baptized' & 3,000 souls were added.' That's it. Does it really say as you have here, 'The 3,000 souls receiving gladly his word were baptized and added.' Does it really say that? – Craig Thurman Jan 20 '19 at 20:00
  • To me, the Greek is quite clear. The ones that welcomed Peter's message were the ones baptised. My translation above is very literal. The Christian community culture at the time required that Baptism was the method by which people declared that they were Christ's followers (ie Christian). Thus, baptism automatically made a person a Christian. Hence, the "and" (Greek "kai") between the two clauses. Hope this clarifies. – user25930 Jan 20 '19 at 20:09

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