bible study devotion

Pentecost: devotion

Dr. Andrew C S Koh

 a painting on the last supper
The Last Supper by Bill Nicholls is licensed under CC-BY-SA 2.0


Heavenly Father, we come before You today as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to You, as these are our spiritual acts of worship. We give You our full attention, hearts, spirits, and minds, in Jesus’ name, Amen. 

The day of Pentecost is 50 days after Easter. On this day, the Holy Spirit descended upon the 120 disciples in the upper room in Jerusalem. The sound of a strong wind came from heaven and individual tongues of fire rested upon the heads of everyone one of them, and they spoke in foreign languages or tongues. 


Acts 2:5-13

Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men, from every nation under the sky. When this sound was heard, the multitude came together and were bewildered, because everyone heard them speaking in his own language. They were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Behold, aren’t all these who speak Galileans? How do we hear, everyone in our own native language? Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and people from Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, 10 Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, the parts of Libya around Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretans and Arabians: we hear them speaking in our languages the mighty works of God!” 12 They were all amazed, and were perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 Others, mocking, said, “They are filled with new wine.”

Acts 2:5-13


Following the command of the Lord, 120 Jewish disciples from Jerusalem and all regions of the first-century world assembled in the upper room to awaiting the coming of the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit came, they were amazed, astonished, and shocked. The heard everyone speaking in other people’s languages. They could not understand what was happening. Onlookers and scoffers accused them to be drunk with wine. 

Peter silenced the crowd saying that nobody was drunk as it was only 9 am in the morning. Peter quoted Joel 2:28. Joel had prophesied this day when the Holy Spirit will be poured out on the people so that young men will prophesy and old man will dream dreams. 

Peter preached his first evangelistic sermon with and boldness and power, The Holy Spirit transformed Peter from a timid fisherman into a fearless evangelist and leader of the apostles. 

The Jews who listened were convicted by Peter’s sermon. They asked Peter what must they do to be saved. Peter told them to repent of their sins, be baptised in the name of Jesus. and called on the name of the Lord for salvation. 

As many as 3000 Jews believed in Jesus and were baptised on that day! They received the apostle’s teaching, fellowshipped, broke bread, and prayed.

This was how the first-century Christian church of Acts was born in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. The believers sold all their possessions and gave the proceeds to the apostles. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, the church grew rapidly. 

It will happen afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters will prophesy. Your old men will dream dreams. Your young men will see visions

Joel 3:28


When the Holy Spirit descended on the believers, they spoke in tongues and prophesy. Speaking in tongue on Pentecost was speaking in known languages. Can you imagine a Chinese speaking in Arabic, a German speaking in French, or Japanese speaking in Dutch and so on? This was what happened. People were able to speak in foreign languages spontaneously and fluently.

Paul described speaking in tongues as one of the spiritual gifts in the book of 1 Corinthians 12 and 13. The tongues described by Paul in 1 Corinthians 12 and 13 may not be the same as in the tongues described in Acts 2.

At conversion, the Holy Spirit indwell a person and imparts spiritual gifts on him/her. Speaking in tongues and prophesy are two of the gifs of the Holy Spirit. There are seven spiritual gifts, wisdom, knowledge, healing, miracles, prophesy, speaking in tongues, and interpretation of tongues, 1 Corinthians 12:8-10.

To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues

1 Corinthians 12:8-10


Heavenly Father, thank You once again for speaking to us Thank You for the day of Pentecost when You gave the Holy Spirit to the Jewish disciples in the upper room in Jerusalem. Thank You for this historic moment when the first Christian church of Acts was born, in Jesus’ name, Amen.