Drunk in the Spirit in Acts 2

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FenderPriest

Puritan Board Junior
Acts 2:1-15 said:
2:1 When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.

How are we to understand what the believers here at Pentecost were experienced and acting like in v. 13-15 to constitute being called drunk? Were they acting drunk but not with wine, but with the Spirit as some Pentecostals will say? I don't trust this interpretation, but I do find it curious to figure out what exactly elicited the accusation of drunkenness upon those who were freshly filled with the Spirit. Any thoughts or help here is greatly appreciated.
 

Jared

Puritan Board Freshman
I am open to that interpretation, but it may be that some of the people who heard them speaking in other languages did not speak those languages and were unfamiliar with them. This may have caused them to think they were drunk. It is an unlikely interpretation, but I think it might be plausible.
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
What happened here is a reversal of what happened a Babel. God caused the church to begin speaking in other languages but of course to many it sounded like babbling. When people babble they are often mistaken for being drunk. Recall Hannah in 1 Samuel -

13 Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. 14 And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.” 15 But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.”

People are pretty quick to judge a movement of the spirit as drunkenness but it's not so much because of the behavior but the prejudice and expectations of the spectators.
 

FenderPriest

Puritan Board Junior
I have had someone say that this accusation of them being drunk is grounds for considering the "laughing in the spirit" movement as permissible as a genuine move of the Holy Spirit in worship. Their thoughts are that an accusation of being drunk would mean that the people were acting like drunks, looking off balance, slowed response time or weird responses and laughing at various things. I don't see it...
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
I don't either. Without prooftexting the charismatic churches would be closed. It's similar to the comparison between the prophets of God and the ecstatic methods of the pagan prophets.

The charismatics and the ecstatic prohets of old use ecstasy and emotion to try and connect to God. God works through a controlled and ordered mouthpiece and he initiates contact.

The charismatics are clanging gongs or noise and confusion whereas God is a God of revelation and creates understanding.


I have had someone say that this accusation of them being drunk is grounds for considering the "laughing in the spirit" movement as permissible as a genuine move of the Holy Spirit in worship. Their thoughts are that an accusation of being drunk would mean that the people were acting like drunks, looking off balance, slowed response time or weird responses and laughing at various things. I don't see it...
 

Jared

Puritan Board Freshman
What about the following scriptures, do you think they could be used to support laughing in the Spirit?

When the LORD brought back the captives to Zion,
we were like men who dreamed.
Our mouths were filled with laughter,
our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."
Psalm 126:1-2

Blessed are you who hunger now,
for you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
Luke 6:21
 

Quickened

Puritan Board Senior
No. There is nothing biblical about the current phenomena that Charismatics call laughing in the Spirit, just as there is nothing biblical about the current phenomena that Charismatics call speaking in tongues. Ecstatic utterances, etc. are not what the biblical gifts were.

Amen brother!

And these practices have no place in corporate worship.
 

Jared

Puritan Board Freshman
What do you make of the following account of the Great Awakening from

Edwards Anglican opponent Timothy Cutler of Boston also intimated during the services: "they feel an inward joy, and it first shows itself in laughing at meeting." Edwards might have been referring to this behavior when in Distinguishing Marks (1741) he recalled the Northamptonites of 1735 forgetting "their distance from God, and were ready... to talk with too much of an air of lightness, and something of laughter...those who laughed before weep now."

This quote is taken from The Great Awakening: The Roots Of Evangelical Christianity In Colonial America by Thomas S. Kidd. pg. 19.
 

holyfool33

Puritan Board Freshman
It could just mean that the non-believers where trying to insinuate that the followers where drunk or there joy could have been so bountiful that people assumed they where drunk.:2cents:
 

FenderPriest

Puritan Board Junior
This is a reply that I've worked up for my friend on this issue. I figured that if there's any sure, "nail in the coffin" way to put this issue to rest, it was to go back to the Greek and see what the text says. Let me know if I'm off on any of this, but it seemed pretty straight forward to me:

I decided to do some work on the Greek in the passage we’re discussing last night. To start out with, since it’s the audience to the Christians that we’re concerned with, their reaction is first recorded in Acts 2:7 as “amazed and astonished”. Vines defines “amazed” in this section meaning, “overwhelmed surprise. The verb is literally to put out of place; hence, out of one’s senses. Compared with Mark 3:21 – He is beside himself.” For “marveled” Vines defines it as “continuing wonder; meaning to regard with amazement, with a suggestion of beginning to speculate on the matter.” So we see that their first reaction is to be overwhelmed with what is happening, and in a state of seemingly transfixed wonder.

As the passage develops, their amazement is given voice: How is it that we heard, each of us in his own native language? (v. 8). Their amazement and wonder is rooted in the believers now speaking in native tongues of those around them that they obviously did not know themselves because they Galileans (v. 7b). Further, the people understood the content of the languages – they did not merely recognize them – for they can say that the tongue speakers are “telling of the mighty works of God” (v. 11).

Now from this, the whole group (noting “all” in the beginning of verse 12) were “amazed and perplexed.” It is interesting to me to look through what “perplexed” means here. Strongs (Greek word 1280) defines it as “thoroughly nonplussed (surprised and confused so much that they are unsure how to react); be in doubt.” The KJV reads just this, that they “were in doubt.” Vines goes on to define the word as such: “Used by Luke only. From “dia”, through, and aporeo, to be without a way. The radical idea of the compound verb seems to be of one who goes through the whole list of possible ways, and finds no way out. Hence, to be in perplexity.” This definition of the word comes from Luke 9:7. What I think is important to note here is this: the whole crowd seeing these Christians speaking in tongues about the mighty works of God did not have an explanation for what was going on. They saw these people speaking in tongues about God, and they were thoroughly baffled. The reaction is of the sort that we might have when we finally see pigs fly – completely unexplainable.

We see then this group continue to discuss among themselves with two voices being recorded for us: 1) “What does this mean?” (v.12), and 2) “They are filled with new wine.” We see here two groups – those in group 1 are unbiased and curious in bewilderment as to what exactly is going on. Those in group two, however, are “mocking” and forgoing giving any further thought to the matter, and simply passing judgment on what they do not understand. As for the word, “mocking”, Strongs (Greek word 5512) defines it as such: “to throw out the lip; jeer at – mock”. Further my Greek NT defines it as: “make fun, sneer”. So we see that the actions of the Christians, telling of the mighty works of God in tongues that were not inherently known to them because of their background, elicited mocking remarks to them, poking fun at their actions, and, as it were, making a spectacle of them. We might easily associate this hooting with the sort that street preachers get from the local college students looking for some fun.

So the question then comes to us here: If one group of people were deeply perplexed, and another group of people were having fun by calling the Christians drunk, can we legitimately say that the Christians were actually acting drunk, yet not on wine? I believe the obvious answer is “no”, for the following reason: If the Christians were acting a little drunk – from anything to wobbly legs, to “loud” behavior – then the people watching them wouldn’t have been perplexed by their conduct, it would have easily been identified as drunkenness; and the mockers wouldn’t have had to make a joke of them, jeer at them, or mock them because their statements would have been true, not joking, if they were in fact acting a little drunk. The fact is, that because there are a group of people being perplexed by their conduct, and there are a group of people making fun of their conduct, we should take their conduct to be what we have given to us – telling the mighty works of God in languages previously unknown to them. You aren’t perplexed at drunks, nor do you (rightly) joke about people being drunk when they are actually acting drunk. People jeer at those they that they want to belittle – and they want to belittle the message of the Christians. It is the Gospel that elicits these reactions, not the “drunk-like” behavior of the Christians.

Thus, Peter comes out and clarifies what is going on: No you fools, they aren’t drunk. What they are saying in your own language that they previously did not know is what was prophesied by Joel – namely, “it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (2: 15-21). For the first century Jew, is it more likely to get both bewildered reactions and jeering reactions to drunk-like behavior, or is it more likely to get both of these reactions to the suggestion that the people of God is no longer centralized in an ethnic people, while in Jerusalem, on a major holiday, while speaking in tongues they previously did not know! It seems more likely to associate these people’s reactions to the invasion of the Holy Spirit in the proclamation of the Gospel, than it is to associate it with “drunk-like” behavior. To take associate this passage with permission for “drunk-like” behavior of any sort in Christians on the excuse of the Holy Spirit is to completely disregard the whole point of this passage: the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
What happened here is a reversal of what happened a Babel. God caused the church to begin speaking in other languages but of course to many it sounded like babbling. When people babble they are often mistaken for being drunk. Recall Hannah in 1 Samuel -

13 Hannah was speaking in her heart; only her lips moved, and her voice was not heard. Therefore Eli took her to be a drunken woman. 14 And Eli said to her, “How long will you go on being drunk? Put your wine away from you.” 15 But Hannah answered, “No, my lord, I am a woman troubled in spirit. I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but I have been pouring out my soul before the Lord. 16 Do not regard your servant as a worthless woman, for all along I have been speaking out of my great anxiety and vexation.”

People are pretty quick to judge a movement of the spirit as drunkenness but it's not so much because of the behavior but the prejudice and expectations of the spectators.

I agree Bob. I think the mocking is a sign of disbelief where the vast majority (who don't deny the power of God) are marveling at the fact that they hear the mighty acts of God in their own tongue, the scoffer sees the power of God and wants to play the fool.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
...We see then this group continue to discuss among themselves with two voices being recorded for us: 1) “What does this mean?” (v.12), and 2) “They are filled with new wine.” We see here two groups – those in group 1 are unbiased and curious in bewilderment as to what exactly is going on. Those in group two, however, are “mocking” and forgoing giving any further thought to the matter, and simply passing judgment on what they do not understand. As for the word, “mocking”, Strongs (Greek word 5512) defines it as such: “to throw out the lip; jeer at – mock”. Further my Greek NT defines it as: “make fun, sneer”. So we see that the actions of the Christians, telling of the mighty works of God in tongues that were not inherently known to them because of their background, elicited mocking remarks to them, poking fun at their actions, and, as it were, making a spectacle of them. We might easily associate this hooting with the sort that street preachers get from the local college students looking for some fun.
A good response in the main Brother. I don't like that term "unbiased" because it assume a neutral position. I don't think they were neutral but that the power of God manifest was having some affect on them.

I like what Hendricksen has to say here:

12. And all were astonished and perplexed, asking one another, “What does this mean?” 13. But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.”

Luke resumes his account of the crowd’s reaction by saying that they were “astonished.” He uses the same word in verse 7, but now he adds the expression perplexed. Luke indicates that the people continue to be confused, for they are unable to explain the miracle they are witnessing. These devout people are asking one another about the meaning of the event (compare 17:20).

Not all the hearers are at a loss. Luke says that a certain group of people ridicules the apostles and those with them. He depicts them as unbelievers who oppose the advance of Christ’s church. They can be equated with “the world [, which] begins with ridicule; then afterwards it proceeds to questioning (4:7); to threats (4:7); to imprisoning (5:18); to inflicting stripes (5:40); to murder (7:58).”22 This is the devil’s unchanging strategy against Jesus and his followers. God performs miracles for everyone to see and hear, yet the unbelievers refuse to accept the truth. They make fun of that which is holy and thus harden their hearts.

The scoffers assert that the apostles are intoxicated because they drank too much wine. They attack Peter and his companions with a claim that is ridiculous; the time of day to see people under the influence of an alcoholic beverage is not at its beginning. Peter responds to their charge by calling attention to the time: “It is only nine in the morning!” (v. 15).

The feast of Pentecost is the harvest festival of wheat and not of grapes. The grape harvest takes place at the conclusion of the summer. Therefore, the word wine refers not to new wine but to sweet wine from the harvest of the past year.

Kistemaker, S. J., & Hendriksen, W. (1953-2001). Vol. 17: New Testament commentary : Exposition of the Acts of the Apostles. Accompanying biblical text is author's translation. New Testament Commentary (85). Grand Rapids: Baker Book House.
 

FenderPriest

Puritan Board Junior
...We see then this group continue to discuss among themselves with two voices being recorded for us: 1) “What does this mean?” (v.12), and 2) “They are filled with new wine.” We see here two groups – those in group 1 are unbiased and curious in bewilderment as to what exactly is going on. Those in group two, however, are “mocking” and forgoing giving any further thought to the matter, and simply passing judgment on what they do not understand. As for the word, “mocking”, Strongs (Greek word 5512) defines it as such: “to throw out the lip; jeer at – mock”. Further my Greek NT defines it as: “make fun, sneer”. So we see that the actions of the Christians, telling of the mighty works of God in tongues that were not inherently known to them because of their background, elicited mocking remarks to them, poking fun at their actions, and, as it were, making a spectacle of them. We might easily associate this hooting with the sort that street preachers get from the local college students looking for some fun.
A good response in the main Brother. I don't like that term "unbiased" because it assume a neutral position. I don't think they were neutral but that the power of God manifest was having some affect on them.

Indeed. I am not to much a fan of using "unbiased", and I deliberated over it myself. Maybe I'll change it. Thanks for the resource.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
You might want to point out that one of the astonishing things about this is that these are Galileans that are speaking the mighty acts of God in all these tongues. Whether they were recognized for their dress or manner of speech the crowd seems to know that they're from what is essentially a backwater town.

People from Galilee were "backwater" tradesmen - not known for being the sharpest tacks in the box. In fact one of the things that some scholars point out is that the prophecy that Christ will be despised is re-stated as "...He shall be called a Nazarene..." because it was despised as unsophisticated. It's sort of like how a person from high society in New York views people from the deep, deep South. You just don't seem educated men from this neck of the woods in Judea and here these guys are speaking in multiple tongues. There is clearly something astonishing here.

Note also that when, in Acts 4, Peter and John are hauled before the High Priests they're astonished at the authority that they speak with: how could these Galileans have a clue?! They even recognize the power with which they heal the lame man but continue in disbelief.
 
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