Did the 3000 in Acts 2:41 Receive the Spirit?

Jason Dulle


There were 3000 on the Day of Pentecost who responded to Peter's preaching (Acts 2:41). When did they receive the Spirit? When were they saved? Were they only baptized on the Day of Penecost and received the Spirit later, or did they receive the Spirit the same day as they were baptized?

Who are those who were being added to the church daily (Acts 2:47)? Someone said they were the same 3000 of Acts 2:41, because it is never said that those 3000 received the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, and thus were not saved that day. It was said that various of the 3000 received the Spirit subsequently on a daily basis after Pentecost. I have always been taught that the 3000 were baptized and received the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost, and that those being referred to in 2:47 are a different group of people. Can you help me with this?



The text does not say that the 3000 received the Spirit. They very well could have, but the text is silent on when or if they did. Some maintain they must have received the Spirit because it is said, "And the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls" (Acts 2:41b). They point out that "unto them" is italicized, meaning it is not in the original Greek, but was supplied by the translator. It is true that "unto them is not in the Greek text. The Greek simply reads, "And in that same day was added three thousand souls." It does not indicate what the souls were added to. The souls refer to the people, but were they added to the church, or to the number/community of believers? If it is referring to the church, then they must have received the Spirit because it is the reception of the Spirit that baptizes one into the church (I Cor 12:13). If it was to the 120 believers, then it need only mean that there were 3000 more people who believed that Jesus was the Christ with the original 120 on the day of Pentecost. While either interpretation is possible, seeing that v. 42 continues on to speak of the relationship of the 3000 to the other believers and apostles, it is likely that Luke meant to say that the 3000 were added to the company of the 120 believers, not necessarily the spiritual body of Christ through Spirit baptism. Even if this interpretation is correct it would not preclude the 3000 from having received the Spirit that day. Seeing how it was a great outpouring of the Spirit that day, it is entirely possible that all 3000 did receive the Spirit. It is also entirely possible that some received the Spirit while others did not, or even that none of them received the Spirit for that matter.

Concerning your second question about the subject of v. 47, one's answer to this question will largely depend on their answer to the question of whether or not the 3000 received the Spirit immediately after Peter's message. Those who maintain that all 3000 received the Spirit on the Day of Pentecost would deny that those who were added daily were the 3000, because they all would have been added to the church on one particular day, having all received the Spirit on the one Day of Pentecost. Those who would confess that Acts 2:41 is ambiguous as to whether or not they received the Spirit would be more inclined to maintain that those added to the church daily in v. 47 are the 3000 who were added to the company of the 120 existing believers back on the Day of Pentecost, but would not necessarily claim such. They could also confess that v. 41 and v. 47 are referring to two different groups of people.

I believe it is doubtful, however, that those added daily in v. 47 are the 3000 of v. 41. Jesus said the apostles would be witnesses of His resurrection starting at Jerusalem, then moving on to Judaea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth (Acts 1:8). This statement becomes the key verse and purpose of Acts. The book is not merely a history of the church, for it is incomplete. It was rather a theological history intended to teach theological truth. The theological purpose of the book was to demonstrate the fulfillment of Jesus' words; i.e. the establishment of the kingdom of God starting at Jerusalem and working out toward all the rest of the world. Interestingly enough we start in Acts 2 in Jerusalem, and end up in Rome by Acts 28, which was the heart of the uttermost parts of the earth of the apostles' day. To demonstrate how the gospel had spread Luke gave us glimpses of key preaching points. Every so often Luke would give a summary report of the status and growth of the church. Acts 2:42-47 is one such status report. The other status reports are as follows:

Acts 6:7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

Acts 9:31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.

Acts 11:19-21 Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.

Acts 12:24 But the word of God grew and multiplied.

Acts 16:5 And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

Acts 19:20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.

Many of these status reports seem to indicate further growth beyond the conversions spoken of prior to their mention, not an elaboration on the same. Acts 16:5 is the best example in that it speaks of the churches increasing in number daily, which is similar to the phraseology of Acts 2:47. The context of Acts 16:5 makes it clear that the growth is additional growth not previosly mentioned. It is most probable, then, that Luke intended a similar meaning in Acts 2:47. Seeing that Acts 2:47 is part of a status report showing how the church continued to grow, it seems most probable that those who were being added to the church daily were believers in addition to the 3000 already mentioned.

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