Acts 2:37
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?"

King James Bible
Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?

Darby Bible Translation
And having heard it they were pricked in heart, and said to Peter and the other apostles, What shall we do, brethren?

World English Bible
Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"

Young's Literal Translation
And having heard, they were pricked to the heart; they say also to Peter, and to the rest of the apostles, 'What shall we do, men, brethren?'

Acts 2:37 Parallel
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Now when they heard this - When they heard this declaration of Peter, and this proof that Jesus was the Messiah. There was no fanaticism in his discourse; it was cool, close, pungent reasoning. He proved to them the truth of what he was saying, and thus prepared the way for this effect.

They were pricked in their heart - The word translated were "pricked," κατενύγησαν katenugēsan, is not used elsewhere in the New Testament. It properly denotes "to pierce or penetrate with a needle, lancet, or sharp instrument"; and then "to pierce with grief, or acute pain of any kind." It corresponds precisely to our word "compunction." It implies also the idea of sudden as well as acute grief. In this case it means that they were suddenly and deeply affected with anguish and alarm at what Peter had said. The causes of their grief may have been these:

(1) Their sorrow that the Messiah had been put to death by his own countrymen.

(2) their deep sense of guilt in having done this. There would be mingled here a remembrance of ingratitude, and a consciousness that they had been guilty of murder of the most aggravated and horrid kind, that of having killed their own Messiah.

(3) the fear of his wrath. He was still alive; exalted to be theft Lord; and entrusted with all power. They were afraid of his vengeance; they were conscious that they deserved it; and they supposed that they were exposed to it.

(4) what they had done could not be undone. The guilt remained; they could not wash it out. They had imbrued theft hands in the blood of innocence, and the guilt of that oppressed their souls. This expresses the usual feelings which sinners have when they are convicted of sin.

Men and brethren - This was an expression denoting affectionate earnestness. Just before this they mocked the disciples, and charged them with being filled with new wine, Acts 2:13. They now treated them with respect and confidence. The views which sinners have of Christians and Christian ministers are greatly changed when they are under conviction for sin. Before that they may deride and oppose them; then, they are glad to be taught by the obscurest Christian, and even cling to a minister of the gospel as if he could save them by his own power.

What shall we do? - What shall we do to avoid the wrath of this crucified and exalted Messiah? They were apprehensive of his vengeance, and they wished to know how to avoid it. Never was a more important question asked than this. It is the question which all convicted sinners ask. It implies an apprehension of danger, a sense of guilt, and a readiness to "yield the will" to the claims of God. This was the same question asked by Paul Acts 9:6, "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?" and by the jailor Acts 16:30 "He ...came, trembling, ...and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" The state of mind in this case - the case of a convicted sinner - consists in:

(1) A deep sense of the evil of the past life; remembrance of a thousand crimes perhaps before forgotten; a pervading and deepening conviction that the heart, and conversation, and life have been evil, and deserve condemnation.

(2) Apprehension about the justice of God; alarm when the mind looks upward to him, or onward to the day of death and judgment.

(3) an earnest wish, amounting sometimes to agony, to be delivered from this sense of condemnation and this apprehension of the future.

(4) a readiness to sacrifice all to the will of God; to surrender the governing purpose of the mind, and to do what he requires. In this state the soul is prepared to receive the offers of eternal life; and when the sinner comes to this, the offers of mercy meet his case, and he yields himself to the Lord Jesus, and finds peace.

In regard to this discourse of Peter, and this remarkable result, we may observe:

(1) That this is the first discourse which was preached after the ascension of Christ, and is a model which the ministers of religion should imitate.


Acts 2:37 Parallel Commentaries

March 4. "They were all Filled with the Holy Ghost" (Acts ii. 4).
"They were all filled with the Holy Ghost" (Acts ii. 4). Blessed secret of spiritual purity, victory and joy, of physical life and healing, and all power for service. Filled with the Spirit there is no room for self or sin, for fret or care. Filled with the Spirit we repel the elements of disease that are in the air as the red-hot iron repels the water that touches it. Filled with the Spirit we are always ready for service, and Satan turns away when he finds the Holy Ghost enrobing us in His garments
Rev. A. B. Simpson—Days of Heaven Upon Earth

Pentecost Tuesday
Text: Acts 2, 29-36. Only the text, without a sermon, is printed in the edition of 1559 of Luther's works.
Martin Luther—Epistle Sermons, Vol. II

The Means of Grace
"Ye are gone away from mine ordinances, and have not kept them." Mal. 3:7. I. 1. But are there any ordinances now, since life and immortality were brought to light by the gospel? Are there, under the Christian dispensation, any means ordained of God, as the usual channels of his grace? This question could never have been proposed in the apostolical church, unless by one who openly avowed himself to be a Heathen; the whole body of Christians being agreed, that Christ had ordained certain outward means,
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

Pricked in their Heart
Peter's discourse was not distinguished by any special rhetorical display: he used not the words of man's wisdom or eloquence. It was not an oration, but it was a heart-moving argument, entreaty, and exhortation. He gave his hearers a simple, well-reasoned, Scriptural discourse, sustained by the facts of experience; and every passage of it pointed to the Lord Jesus. It was in these respects a model of what a sermon ought to be as to its contents. His plea was personally addressed to the people who
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 35: 1889

Cross References
Psalm 73:21
When my heart was embittered And I was pierced within,

Ecclesiastes 12:11
The words of wise men are like goads, and masters of these collections are like well-driven nails; they are given by one Shepherd.

Luke 3:10
And the crowds were questioning him, saying, "Then what shall we do?"

Luke 3:12
And some tax collectors also came to be baptized, and they said to him, "Teacher, what shall we do?"

Acts 5:33
But when they heard this, they were cut to the quick and intended to kill them.

Acts 16:30
and after he brought them out, he said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"

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