Pentecost & The Coming of the Spirit
Shared April 11th, 2020
Note the passive form of the verb οραω, Trans: "to them were seen" or "to them appeared" The implication here is that only those filled by the Holy Spirit saw the tongues "as of fire ", while the crowd saw the gifts.
πνεύματος is a genitive of content . "filled with the Holy Spirit " (Wallace, 94)
"It is to be noted that neither the verb nor the case following the verb are the same as in Eph 5:18 (here, πιμπλημι; there, πληροω; here, gen.; there, [εν+] dat.). The command there to be filled by the Spirit has nothing to do with tongues-speaking. The Spirit-filling (with πιμπλημι) in Acts is never commanded, nor is it related particularly to sanctification. Rather, it is a special imbueing of the Spirit for a particular task (similar to the Spirit's ministry in the OT ). Furthermore, every time the case used to indicate the content of filling is the gen., never the dat . Cf. Acts 4:8, 31; 9:17; 13:9 (cf. also Luke 1:15, 41)." (Wallace, 94, italics and underlining mine)
See the singular form of this verb compared with the plural subject γλωσσαι as well as the plural form of the verb ωφθησαν. A few ideas: The noun is a noun clause, "tongues as of fire" which incorporates both the plural idea (tongues were seen) as well as the singular (fire sat). See also the King James Version: "And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire , and it sat upon each of them" (italics mine) TEXTUAL VARIANT: There is a textual variant with strong manuscript evidence for the plural form of the verb (εκαθισαν). However, even if the point is granted that the original manuscript contains the plural form of the verb, than the singular usage is indicative an interpretive tradition arguing for the singular meaning. The burden, therefore, is on the one ignoring NA28's current choice of the singular form to disprove the singular meaning.
The singular meaning "fire...rested" leads to two possible interpretations: 1.) Many tongue s were divided, and then each tongu e rested on an individual. 2.) The "tongues as of fire" represents the voice of God, which came upon them for this particular event (see Philo, Decalogue ). This would mirror the function of the Spirit in the OT, as coming onto people for a particular task. (Wallace, 94)