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Church Meetings in Acts – Acts 2:44

Posted by on Feb 24, 2010 in gathering, scripture | Comments Off on Church Meetings in Acts – Acts 2:44

The next passage in Acts which includes “gathering” language is the passage that includes Acts 2:44 –

So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls. And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:41-47 ESV)

Once again we find the Greek phrase “ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ” (epi to auto) in Acts 2:44 which is translated “together” by the ESV in this instance. However, the “togetherness” of the believers is demonstrated over and over again in this passage.

We see a devotion to live a life together in accordance to what the apostles were teaching. We see a continuation of sharing life together, eating together, and praying together. They provided for one another’s needs, even to the point of selling their own possessions in order to give to someone else. We see them together in public (in the temple) and in private (in their homes). In the midst of this “togetherness”, the Lord was bringing others into his church.

Given that the coming of the Holy Spirit is the focus of Peter’s speech in Acts 2:14-39, and given that Peter’s call to repentance was both for the forgiveness of sins and the receiving of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38), it is difficult to imagine Acts 2:41-47 as anything other than the work of the Holy Spirit among those who had recently been indwelled by him. Thus, as Luke called his Gospel a record of “all that Jesus began to do and teach” (Acts 1:1), we can see that Luke is now writing about what Jesus was continuing to do and to teach, this time through the presence of his Spirit – the Spirit of Christ – the Spirit of God – the Holy Spirit.

Once again in this passage we see a combination of the gathering language with the sending language. The believers came together in their houses, but they also went out together into the temple. We also see the results of their “going” as the Lord added others to his church.

There is at least one more point that can be made about the gathering language in this passage. Luke records that 3000 were added to the church on the Day of Pentecost. These are the one who are said to be “together” in the following verses. Logistically, the 3000 were probably never together in “the same place” (the literal meaning of “ἐπὶ τὸ αὐτὸ” – epi to auto). However, even though they were never in the “same place”, they were still “together”. There was a new connection between them that transcended space and time.

In other words, they were able to be together – as one – without being in the same place. Now, this is not to say that they did not meet together with others, just that they could not meet together with “all” others. Even though they could not meet together, they could be both spiritually unity through the Holy Spirit and physically united through shared relationships with one another.

(This idea of “togetherness” while not being all together in the same place at the same time is similar to the example in Exodus where God tells the children of Israel to celebrate the Passover together as a nation, although they actually partook of the meal in their own homes or with a neighbor. See Exodus 12:46-47.)