4. Gospel consolidation and expansion into Greece, 16:1-20:38
vii] Apollos and the followers of John the BaptistSynopsis
The two episodes recorded in this passage occur during Paul's missionary work in the Aegean region, and in particular, during his ministry in Ephesus, Acts.18:18-19:20. First, we have the story of Apollos who knew only the baptism of John and who was therefore given further instruction in The Way by Priscilla and Aquila. Second, we have the encounter of Paul with some disciples of John the Baptist. Paul also sets out to instruct them in The Way.
The continued expansion of the way through the gospel ministry of Paul even gathers in disciples of John the Baptist.
i] Context: See 16:1-15.
ii] Background: See 16:1-15.
iii] Structure: This passage, Apollos and the followers of John the Baptist, presents as follows:
The integration into the way of followers of John the Baptist:
Ministry in Ephesus, v24-25;
Instructed in the way by Priscilla and Aquila, v26-28;
The disciples of John, 19:1-7:
Paul meets some of the Baptist's disciples, v1;
The key question, v2:
"did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?"
Paul immerses them "into the name of the Lord Jesus", v3-5.
The twelve disciples of John receive the Holy Spirit, v6-7.
Luke's reason for including these stories may simply come down to the abundance of his Ephesian source-material, or possibly even his desire to record how Apollos was included in Paul's church-planting ministry, given the important part he was to play later in the church at Corinth. Barrett suggests that Luke may be providing a guide to believers on how to handle a disciple of John if they should ever meet one. It is though likely that the outward move of the gospel lies at the center of Luke's thinking. As the gospel spreads from Jerusalem to the ends of the world (Rome!!), so it spreads from Jews, to Hellenist Jews, to God-fearers, Gentiles, and yes, even the disciples of John - the Abrahamic covenant finds its fulfillment in Christ, in his body, the Spirit endowed fellowship of believers.
The nature of the baptism performed on Apollos and the twelve disciples of John the Baptist: These are quite unusual stories and of particular interest because they further highlight a rather controversial way of understanding the phrase "baptizing them in the name ....." Matt.28:19, and by extension the meaning of the phrase, "the baptism of John", Act.18:25, or "John's baptism", Act.19:3.
As has already been noted, the English verb "to baptize" is virtually a transliteration of the Greek word baptizw, baptizo. Our problem is that when Bible translators see the Greek word they usually just use the English equivalent "baptize" which is then commonly understood to refer to water baptism. The word has a strong image for us, an image controlled by the practice of water baptism in the church. Yet, this image is often misleading.
The Greek noun baptisma means "overwhelmed" or "immersed". In the literature of the time it could be used literally (eg. the dying of cloth) or figuratively (eg. oppressed by a terrifying experience). In using the Greek word instead of its actual meaning, our Bible translators have inadvertently lead us to understand "baptism" in the terms of a person being immersed in water as an outward expression of repentance and belief. The word is certainly sometimes used this way in the New Testament, but by no means always.
The most common use of the word relates to a believer being immersed in the Holy Spirit. Jesus pours out the Spirit; he is like a fountain to drink from, a life giving drink, John.7:37-39. This "outpouring" of the Spirit was prophesied in the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New, Joel.2:28, Ezk.39:29. The phrase "immersed (baptized) in the Spirit" serves primarily to express the regeneration of those who are dead to sin, although it can, at times, merge with "filled with the Spirit" (the Old Testament sense of being empowered for a divine task, usually prophetic - "filled ..... speak"). We come alive in Christ through the washing of the Spirit who daily renews and empowers us in the image of the glorified Christ, Gal.4:6, Rom.8:9-11, Titus.3:5-7. For all believers, this is a work of grace appropriated through faith.
A lesser usage is that of being immersed in suffering. It's what Jesus calls "a baptism of fire", Math.3:12.
The passage before us demonstrates another usage - immersed in truth. The most outstanding example of this usage is Matthew 28:18-20. In this passage Jesus gives authority to his disciples to serve as his agents in the world in order to baptize / immerse people "in the Name" / the person of Jesus, under the authority of the Name / the person of Jesus. They are to go and make disciples - to gather in the lost and form a new community. Although the idea is somewhat left field, it is likely that immersing someone in the Name has nothing to do with water baptism, but everything to do with immersing people in the truth of the gospel.
So, when Jesus sends his disciples out "baptizing", it is most likely that he is sending them out to preach. He is using the word "baptizing" in a figurative sense. So, the phrase "baptizing them into the Name", is best understood to mean "immersing them into the truth." Jesus is not telling his disciples to go throughout the world dunking people in water, but rather immersing them in the person of the living God. Jesus is telling his disciples to go throughout the world proclaiming the gospel and teaching those who respond - introduce them to the way of Christ, with the authority of Christ. Remember, John, in his gospel, makes a point of telling us that Jesus didn't actually baptize anyone with water.
So then, when it comes to the disciples of John who were baptized "into the baptism of John", their situation was corrected by Paul who "baptized" them eiV, "into the name of the Lord Jesus." Given the context, it seems more than likely that they were "immersed into the person / teaching / gospel of the Lord Jesus" - "having recognized [the situation detailed in v3-4] they were ......." Water baptism, as a sign of repentance, doesn't quite fit with the rather strange circumstances recorded in this passage. There is little doubt that Apollos and the other disciples of John had received water baptism at the hand of John as a sign of their repentance, but the context gives a different slant to the phrase "the baptism of John." The problem is not correct water dunking, but correct indoctrination. They were short on the truth, not short on water. There is no evidence whatsoever that John's disciples who became Jesus' apostles were rebaptized. And anyway, who would baptize them, given that Jesus didn't baptize anyone with water? Note the way Priscilla and Aquila handle Apollos. He, at least, "had been taught in the way of the Lord", ie. although a disciple of John, he knew of the one whom John pointed to, he knew of Jesus' fulfillment of scripture. Yet, he lacked information, eg. he may not have known about Jesus' resurrection. So, Priscilla and Aquila "explained to him the way of God more adequately."
Apollos and the disciples of John knew of John's understanding of the coming messiah, but in varying degrees they were short on the facts. Knowing "the baptism of John" implies a knowledge of (an immersion into) the limited teachings of John concerning the coming kingdom. Their problem is rectified, not by a second water baptism, but by an immersion "into the name of Jesus", that is, into an authoritative exposition of the gospel / news about Christ.
v] Exposition: A simple exposition of this passage may be found in the linked pew-level Sermon Notes.
Text - 18:24
The integration into the way of the followers of John the Baptist, 18:24-19:7: i] Apollos comes to Ephesus, a highly gifted teacher and preacher, but, knowing "only the baptism of John", he is somewhat lacking in a full understanding of the Christian faith and must be instructed before embarking on a ministry in Achaia, v24-28. a) Ministry in Ephesus, v24-25: Our story opens with a man named Apollos who comes to Ephesus and "speaks boldly in the synagogue." He was an "eloquent" speaker with a "thorough knowledge of the Scriptures." In the Western text it is noted that he "had been instructed in the way of the Lord", but other texts have "who had been instructed in the word of God." It is likely that "word of God" is correct.
de "meanwhile" - but, and. Transitional, "now, ...."
onomati (a atoV) dat. "named" - Dative of reference / respect, "with respect to his name Apollos" = "with the name of Apollos."
tw/ genei (oV ouV) "a native of [Alexandria]" - [an Alexandrian] by birth. The dative is instrumental; "by means of his birth."
logioV adj. "a learned [man]" - eloquent. A hapax legomenon, once only use in NT. Possibly "man of learning", or "man of culture", Moffatt, but "eloquent" is more likely.
w\n (eimi) pres. part. "with" - being. The participle is adjectival, attributive, forming a relative clause; "who was well versed in the scriptures." "The scriptures" obviously means "the Jewish scriptures", ie. the Old Testament.
en + dat ."[a thorough knowledge] of [the scriptures]" - [powerful] in [the scriptures]. Local, expressing space / sphere. "He knew a lot about the scriptures", CEV.
hn kathchmenoV perf. pas. part. "he had been instructed in" - had been taught. Periphrastic pluperfect formed by the imperfect of the verb "to be" and the perfect participle, expressing a past continuous, but now completed event. "He had received instruction in the way of the Lord", Barclay.
tou kuriou (oV) gen. "[the way] of the Lord" - The genitive is adjectival, idiomatic, limiting "way". Originally "the way" draws on Isaiah, referring to the way the messiah will travel, his pathway, his life. This is then extended to those who follow in the footsteps of the messiah. In Acts this phrase has nothing to do with a person's manner of life, their conduct, but their having become a follower of Christ, ie. having accepted his "way", his teaching, the gospel. Also, "the way" is not "God's way", but "the Lord's way" in the sense of "the way of the Lord Jesus Christ." It is unclear whether Apollos is a believer, prompting the variant oV hn kathchmenoV en h/ patridi ton logon tou qeou, "who had been instructed in the word of God in his own home town." There would be nothing unusual in a person like Apollos meeting disciples of John and accepting their teaching concerning the coming messiah. This teaching may well have advanced from John's early instruction, having come to identify Jesus as the messiah. Yet, as Luke will explain, it was defective, or better, limited.
zewn tw/ pneumati "[he spoke] with great fervor" - burning, bubbling in/with spirit [he was speaking]. The participle "burning" is adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of his speaking, and the dative is probably local, so "in [his] spirit." So, if "spirit" is Apollos' own spirit, then he spoke "with great enthusiasm", TEV; "with great excitement", CEV. Possibly, but unlikely, the "Holy Spirit" is intended; "glowing with the Spirit", Goodspeed.
akribwV adv. "accurately" - precisely / diligently. If he was "accurate" in his teaching then it was only to the degree of his understanding, an understanding which was limited. To this end Priscilla and Aquila had to explain "to him the way of God more adequately", so "he taught painstakingly", Goodspeed; "faithfully", Phillips.
ta peri + gen. "about" - the things concerning. Reference; "the things with reference to."
tou Ihsou "Jesus" - Again we have a variant reading coming to the fore, although the best attested reading is tou Ihsou, rather than tou kuriou "the Lord." As already noted, it is not unreasonable to suppose that some of John's remaining disciples had come to identify Jesus as the messiah, but were lacking in a full understanding of the gospel.
epistamenoV (epistamai) pres. pas. part. "though he knew [only]" - being acquainted with, understanding. The participle is adverbial, concessive, as NIV. Properly meaning "being aware of / having experience of", Barrett.
to baptisma Iwannou "the baptism of John" - The proper genitive "of John" is usually treated as verbal, subjective; "the baptism performed by John." John's immersion = the teaching of the kingdom that was publicly proclaimed by John the Baptist; see notes above. Unlikely "John's message about baptism", CEV.
b) Priscilla and Aquila, recognizing that Apollos' understanding of the coming kingdom of God is primarily dictated by the teachings of John the Baptist, take him in charge and lead him to a full understanding of the gospel, v26-28. Clearly Apollos is a disciple of the Baptist with only a limited understanding of the coming kingdom, so Priscilla (Aquila is added in the Western text. You can't have a woman instructing a man!!!) took him aside and "explained to him the way of God more adequately" ("way" = the way of Christ = the gospel). Apollos later moves on to Corinth and, with his new-found understanding of the scriptures, is able to explain how Jesus properly fulfills Old Testament prophecy.
parrhsiazesqai (parrhsiazomai) inf. "[he began] to speak boldly" - [this one began] to speak openly, boldly. Complementary infinitive, completing the sense of the verb "began". "He began to speak freely and fearlessly", Barclay.
akousanteV (akouw) aor. part. "when [Priscilla and Aquila] heard" - having heard. The participle is adverbial, temporal, as NIV.
proselabonto (proslambanw) aor. "they invited [him]" - With the sense "they took him aside."
exeqento (ektiqhmi) aor. "explained to [him]" - Taking the sense of "they set forth [to him]", Barrett, "fill someone in on something", BAGD, so "explained".
thn oJdon "the way [of God]" - the way. Variant "of God" is strong, but the shorter reading from the Western text is preferred by many, cf. Metzger. See v5 for the sense of "the way" and for the genitive "of God."
akribesteron (akibwV) comp. adv. "more adequately" - more diligently, precisely, accurately. "They gave him detailed instruction about the way."
Apollos desires to go to what is now southern Greece to minister there and he is encouraged to do so by the Ephesian believers and given a letter of commendation expressing their support.
boulomenou (boulomai) gen. pres. part. "when [Apollos] wanted" - [and he] desiring. The genitive absolute participle is adverbial, temporal, as NIV.
dielqein (diercomai) aor. inf. "to go [to Achaia]" - The infinitive forms a dependent statement of perception expressing what Apollos desired to do.
protreyamenoi (protrepw) aor. part. "encouraged him" - having encouraged. Attendant circumstance participle expressing action accompanying the verb "wrote"; "they wrote and encouraged the disciples to ....".
apodexasqai (apodecomai) aor. inf. "to welcome [him]" - to receive [him]. The infinitive forms a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what the disciples wrote.
paragenomenoV (paraginomai) aor. part. "on arriving" - having come. The participle is adverbial, probably temporal, "when he arrived."
toiV pepisteukosin (pisteuw) perf. part. "those who [by grace] had believed" - the ones having believed. Participle serves as a substantive. The perfect tense expressing the sense of "believed and kept on believing."
dia + gen. "by [grace]" - through, by means of. Instrumental, expressing means. Obviously "grace" means "God's gracious and unmerited kindness toward the sinner", here as either the instrument of salvation, of gaining a state of believing, so Barrett, or the instrument for assisting the believers, "he was able by God's grace to help the believers considerably", NJB.
Arriving in Achaia, Apollos encourages the believers, particularly in his ability to argue the case for Christianity with the local Jews.
gar "for" - Expressing cause/reason; introducing a causal clause explaining why Apollos was a help, "because ......"
diakathlegceto (diakatelegcomai) imperf. "he [vigorously] refuted" - he was refuting. The imperfect, being durative, may be emphasizing the ongoing nature of this debate, although, debate is of itself durative, as with speech in general. The word "refute" means "to overwhelm" someone by argument, BAGD. "He strenuously out-argued the Jews", Barclay.
dhmosia/ dat. adj. "in public debate" - in public. Local dative. "Debate" assumed, "publicly refuted", Phillips.
epideiknuV (epideiknumi) pres. part. "proving" - showing. The participle is adverbial, possibly instrumental, expressing means; "by proving from the Scriptures."
dia + gen. "from [the Scriptures]" - through, by means of. Instrumental, expressing means.
einai (eimi) pres. inf. "that [Jesus was the Christ]" - [Jesus] to be [the Christ]. "Jesus", as the subject of the infinitive, takes the accusative. The infinitive serves to form a dependent statement of indirect speech expressing what Apollos proved from the Scriptures. Apollos did not set out to prove that the messiah is coming and that he is about to establish the kingdom of God (ie. the Baptist's message), but rather than "Jesus is the messiah."
ii] Luke now records Paul's encounter with twelve disciples of John the Baptist, v1-7. a) Paul meets some of the Baptist's disciples, v1. It is after Apollos has moved to Achaia (Southern Greece) that Paul comes to Ephesus. Here Paul meets a group who, like Apollos, are disciples of John the Baptist. The word "disciple" is most often reserved for believing Christians, but here it is being used of John's followers.
egeneto "-" - it came about, it happened.
en tw/ + inf. verb "to be." "while [Apollos was ....]" - This construction forms a temporal clause. "Apollos" takes the accusative, subject of the infinitive einai.
dielqonta (diercomai) aor. part. "[Paul] took [the road through the interior]" - having travelled through [the upper parts]. The participle is possibly attendant circumstance, or even temporal; "it was when Apollos was in Corinth that Paul, after passing through the inland districts", Moffatt.
katelqein (katercomai) "and arrived [at Ephesus]" - to come down, return. This infinitive, as with euJrein, "to find", is possibly linked to en tw/, so continuing the temporal construction which opened the verse, but then the two infinitives may serve to form a substantive infinitival clause, subject of "while Apollos was at Corinth"; "Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus and found some disciples [while Apollos was at Corinth]", cf. Bock
maqhtaV (hV ou) "disciples" - disciples, students. A word normally used of believers, but it must be remembered that the Baptist also had disciples and it is very likely that the sense here is not "believers", but "disciples of John", cf. Marshall.
b) Paul seeks to ascertain whether these "disciples" are believers by asking if they have received the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, and are thus regenerate, born anew, v2. Paul asks the twelve disciples of John whether they had received the gift of the Holy Spirit, whether they had been born anew of God's Spirit. Their answer seems to imply that they had never heard of the Holy Spirit. Yet, John the Baptist taught that the coming Messiah would baptize with the Holy Spirit, Mark.1:8. So obviously, it's not that they had never heard about the Holy Spirit, but rather that they are unaware that the promised Spirit has already been poured out. So, the "disciples" are not yet believers since they have yet to hear the good news about Jesus, respond in faith and so receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
ei "did [you ....]" - This indefinite conjunction here serves to introduce an interrogative noun cause forming an indirect question.
elabete (lambanw) aor. "you receive" - you received. "Did the Holy Spirit come upon you ..?"
pisteusanteV (pisteuw) aor. part. "when you believed" - having believed. Temporal participle seems best, as NIV etc. Barclay's "became believers", underlines our problem in that if they had not as yet received the Spirit, how could they be believers? Second blessing theologians answer this question by proposing an empowering / baptizing / filling of the Spirit as a post conversion experience. Yet, given that John's disciples would present like Christians, it is not unreasonable for Paul to jump to conclusions. Assuming a person is a believer, doesn't make them a believer. The Baptist's disciples would be up on matters relating to messianic fulfillment, but they would lack Christ-specific information and thus, the gift of the Spirit.
all (alla) "no" - but. Adversative; "[not only did we not receive], but", Zerwick.
oud ... hkousamen (akouw) "we have not even heard" - not .. we heard. Obviously they had heard, been told about, the Holy Spirit. Even John taught of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, but the reception of the Spirit was not a promised consequence of John's baptism. So, "reception of", expressed in the question, should be assumed. The Western text actually contains the variant "we have not heard if (whether) some have received the Holy Spirit", which at least indicates that some ancient scholars assumed an ellipsis (an omission of words) here.
ei "that" - if. Here the conjunction forms an indefinite clause, dependent statement, object of hkousamen, "we have [not] heard", expressing the substance of the disciples reply, namely, concerning the reception of the Holy Spirit. John's teaching simply concerned repentance and "conveyed no promise beyond that of the forgiveness of sins", Barrett.
pneuma aJgion "a Holy Spirit" - The anarthrous adjective-noun construction (lacking the definite article) does not rule out a translation "the Holy Spirit" and this is surely the sense here. John's disciples were well acquainted with the Holy Spirit, but lacked the gift of the Spirit and thus rebirth/regeneration; "we have not heard about the reception of the Holy Spirit". Possible, but very unlikely, "we have not heard whether a spirit can be holy", Wallace.
c) The investigation of the "disciples" Christian standing proceeds by identifying their baptism, v3-5. The immersion Paul has in mind may well include water immersion as an outward symbol of repentance, but primarily Paul is concerned with their immersion into the truth of the coming kingdom / into the name - see notes above. In the case of these disciples of the Baptist they had obviously come to an understanding of the coming kingdom through the Lord's messiah and had repented in the face of the coming day, seeking God's mercy in the forgiveness of sins. Yet, in and through Jesus that day had arrived with the blessings of the covenant realized; God's long-awaited Spirit is even now renewing his people. Jesus is the one the Baptist pointed to, he is the messiah, and so a person must place their trust in him to receive the promised blessings of the kingdom.
oun "then" - so then, therefore. Drawing a logical conclusion and so prompting a follow-up question.
eiV ti "what [baptism] did you receive" - into what [were you immersed]. The preposition, with the interrogative ti, probably carries the sense "in", as "in/into, and the "certain thing / what" = "the name." Again the translators assume that the baptism referred to here is water baptism. The question is actually "into what [name] were you immersed?" As in the notes above, the word can be used of being immersed into truth. This is not to say that water baptism, serving as a sign of repentance and thus an acceptance of that truth, doesn't go hand-in-hand with immersion in the truth. So, here again we have, not a deficiency in liturgical rites, but of information. John's information, concerning the messiah ("into the name of John"), is preparatory and has long since been subsumed (fulfilled) by the information (gospel) concerning Christ ("the name of the Lord Jesus" = the authoritative revelation concerning Jesus the messiah).
ebaptisen (baptizw) aor. "[John's baptism] was a baptism" - [John] immersed [an immersion]. The aorist verb is probably constative, encompassing the whole of John's preaching / teaching ministry. He immersed Israel into the truth of a coming kingdom, the entry of which required repentance for the forgiveness of sins for the realization of the hope of a promised messiah. The gospel has a similar thrust, except that the kingdom is now and its blessings now (eg. the gift of Holy Spirit) and is in and through the life, death, resurrection and present reign of the promised messiah, Jesus.
metanoiaV (a) gen. "of repentance" - The genitive is, as is often the case, open to numerous classifications. Cassirer opts for verbal, subjective, "John's baptism was one issuing from repentance." Adjectival seems more likely, attributive / epexegetic, limiting "baptism", a repentance type baptism. Wallace's "baptism that is somehow related to repentance", is a bit too bland; Zerwick's "a baptism in token of repentance" is certainly better.
legwn (legw) pres. part. "he told" - saying. The participle is adverbial, modal, expressing how the Baptist immersed people, "telling people", Moffatt, or possibly even instrumental, expressing the means by which he immersed people, "by way of telling people that ....."
tw/ law/ "the people" - to the people. Dative of indirect object.
iJna + subj. "to [believe]" - that [they should believe]. Introducing an object clause / dependent statement of indirect speech, expressing what John told the people to do, namely that they should believe in the one coming after him. The actual sense of Paul's words depends on whether we think these "disciples" are believers or not. No further mention of the gift of the Holy Spirit, or of water rebaptism (unknown in the New Testament), but rather the call to believe in Jesus, surely reinforces the view that they were not yet believers; "but he also told them that someone else was coming and that they should put their faith in him", CEV.
eiV + acc. "in" - into. This preposition is often interchangeable with en, "in", particularly when referring to belief.
ton ercomenon (ercomai) pres. part. "the one coming" - The participle serves as a substantive.
met (meta) + acc. "after [him]" - Temporal; "after" in time.
tout estin "that is" - this is. "That is".
Ihsoun "Jesus" - Variant Ihsoun Criston, "Jesus Christ", but "Jesus" is likely original.
akousanteV (akouw) aor. part. "on hearing this" - having heard. The participle is adverbial, probably temporal; "when they heard this", AV.
ebaptisqhsan eiV to onoma tou kuriou Ihsou "they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus" - See above. Note, the Western text adds, "for the forgiveness of sins", assuming that the "immersion" here is water baptism. There is no evidence that John's disciples, on following Jesus, underwent water baptism again. In fact, Jesus himself didn't practice the rite. As a sign of repentance, in the face of the coming kingdom, there was no point getting dunked again. These disciples were short on information and so were "immersed into the truth concerning the Lord Jesus."
d) The twelve disciples of John receive the Holy Spirit, v6-7. Following their instruction in the gospel, Paul lays hands on them, they receive the Holy Spirit, and they speak in tongues and prophesy. For Luke, the inclusion of these followers of John the Baptist into the new age of God's kingdom, as with Jews, God-fearers and Gentiles, is evidenced by an outward display of ecstatic prophecy.
epiqentoV (epitiqhmi) gen. aor. part. "when [Paul] placed [his hands] on" - having placed upon, put on, laid on. The genitive absolute participial construction forms a temporal clause, as NIV. The laying on of hands is an Old Testament expression of identification in prayer. We may assume, "upon the head."
autoiV dat. pro. "them" - Dative of direct object after the epi prefix verb "to lay hands on."
ep + acc. "on" - over, on, to. Spacial; "came down on them", NJB.
elaloun (lalew) imperf. "they spoke [in tongues]" - they were speaking. The imperfect here is probably inceptive; "they began speaking in tongues." Luke is clearly describing this experience in the terms of the Pentecost event. For Luke, tongues serve to verify the outpouring of God's Spirit upon all peoples as the gospel moves outward to the ends of the earth, thus establishing the inclusive nature of the kingdom realized in Jesus. Jews receive the Spirit and speak in tongues, but so do Godfearers and Gentiles, and yes, even the followers of the Baptist. Thus, the kingdom is even now upon us.
glwssaiV (a) dat. "in tongues" - The dative is probably adverbial, modal, expressing the manner of speaking.
te .... kai "...... and ...." - Establishing a close connection between speaking in tongues and prophesying.
eprofhteuon (profhteuw) imperf. "prophesied" - were prophesying. Again, inceptive. The word underlines the fact that this event parallels Pentecost where speaking in tongues took the form of ecstatic prophetic utterances in a language / form that could be understood by the hearer, ie. "we hear them proclaiming the mighty acts of God", 2:11. This again indicates that modern tongue-speaking is unlike the Pentecost event, but may well be similar to what was occurring in Corinth and addressed by Paul in 1 Corinthians chapters twelve through fourteen.
wJsei "about" - about. Bruce, 1951, notes that this is a "characteristic Lukan modifying of exact numbers". Used with oiJ panteV, "altogether", it denotes "a precise number rather than the usual approximation", Culy, in which case "about" is best left out, so Williams; "there were a dozen men in all."