5 And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. 7 Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?
Verses 5-13 express the response to speaking in tongues in verses 1-4. The crowd consisted of people from different areas of the Roman Empire and other geographical regions speaking in diverse languages. This crowd was called the Diaspora. They had come to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost.
Verse 5 begins a change of scenery, moving from the upper room to the public square. The upper room group of 120 people probably had by now moved outside near the Temple at this point. The Temple area was the only place where 3,000 people could gather in Jerusalem.
And there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout [pious] men,
The “devout” people were religious or pious but not necessarily genuine believers. They were probably pious Diaspora Jews and not Gentiles except for proselyte Jews.
from every nation under heaven.
This phrase is hyperbole for people from many places under the Roman Empire and other areas. There was a worldwide significance to the events of chapter 2. It was a cosmopolitan crowd. They came from all over the known world.
And when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused,
When people heard the sound of the coming of the Holy Spirit, a multitude gathered together with a sense of confusion.
because everyone heard them speak in his own [native] language [literally, dialect from kialektos].
The confusion had to do with people who spoke in another’s language or dialect (Acts 2:7,8) without studying for it.
Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?
The crowd was perplexed about how “Galileans” could speak in diverse languages (Acts 2:4). Jews in Judea considered the Galileans uneducated and not up to speed culturally.
And how is it that we hear, each in our own language [dialect] in which we were born?
The Galileans spoke in foreign languages of different areas of the Roman Empire. Jews and Jewish proselytes came from many places. These were known languages in the world, not ecstatic or gibberish speech.
Pentecost foreshadows the importance of foreign missions.
The spirit harvest of the church did not finish with the church of the first century. However, the first church made a worldwide impact on the nations of the world. Today, it is incumbent upon the church to reach the world, not just the western part of the world.
The purpose of tongues was to authenticate the new revelation of the coming of the Holy Spirit permanently on the church. It was to show Jews that the credentials of a new economy had begun. Miracles appear in Scripture only in periods of revelation (Acts 2:22; Mark 16:20; Acts 7:36-39, 51; Heb. 2:2-4; 1 Cor. 14:20-22). Jews were always present when speaking in tongues occurred. The Jews required a “sign,” a miracle to substantiate what they believed. In Acts, the gift of speaking in languages was always associated with the proclamation of the gospel (Acts 2:4; 4:8, 31; 9:17; 13:9). The filling of the Spirit was always associated with the mission of the gospel (Acts 6:3, 5; 7:55; 11:24; 13:52).