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?
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.