PROPOSITION: The gift of the Holy Spirit is what was "seen and heard." Therefore, what was heard was the gospel (“good news”) of good things such as was heard on the day of Pentecost. It must be received by believing, obeying, and keeping it.

Peter: Therefore [Jesus] being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear(Acts 2:33).

What was it that the audience heard?   Peter's sermon. Ye men of Israel, hear these words (logos G3056*); Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you(Acts 2:22). “And with many other words (logos G3056*) did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation” (Acts 2:40). Then they that gladly received his word (singular, logos G3056*) were baptized(Acts 2:41).

logos G3056 - Strong's Hebrew and Greek Dictionary: From legōG3004. Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words: (I) "the expression of thought," not the mere name of an object, (a) as embodying a conception or idea, e.g.,Luke 7:7;1 Corinthians 14:9,19; (b) a saying or statement, (1) by God, e.g.,John 15:25;Romans 9:9;9:28, RV, "word" (AV, "work");Galatians 5:14;Hebrews 4:12; (2) by Christ, e.g.,Matthew 24:35(plur.);John 2:22;4:41;14:23(plur.); 15:20. In connection with (1) and (2) the phrase "the word of the Lord," i.e., the revealed will of God (very frequent in the OT), is used of a direct revelation given by Christ,1 Thessalonians 4:15; of the gospel,Acts 25;13:49;15:35,36; 16:32; 19:10; 1 Thessalonians 1:8;2 Thessalonians 3:1; in this respect it is the message from the Lord, delivered with His authority and made effective by His power (cp.Acts 10:36); for other instances relating to the gospel see Acts 13:26;14:3;15:7;1 Corinthians 1:18, RV;2 Corinthians 2:17;4:2;5:19;6:7;Galatians 6:6;Ephesians 1:13;Philippians 2:16;Colossians 1:5;Hebrews 5:13; sometimes it is used as the sum of God's utterances, e.g.,Mark 7:13;John 10:35;Revelation 1:2,9; (c) discourse, speech, of instruction, etc., e.g.,Acts 2:40;1 Corinthians 2:13;12:8;2 Corinthians 1:18;1 Thessalonians 1:5;2 Thessalonians 2:15;Hebrews 6:1, RV, marg.; doctrine, e.g.,Matthew 13:20;Colossians 3:16;1 Timothy 4:6;2 Timothy 1:13;Titus 1:9;1 John 2:7;

The prophet Joel foretold that the Spirit would use prophets to declare, “Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord will be saved” (Acts 2:17, 21). Jesus' appointed apostles are the “prophets” of the Holy Spirit. They declare Jesus as the Lord because of His sacrificial death (2:23) and His being raised from the dead to rule on His throne at the right hand of God (2:30).

Peter preached that the promise of the Father was what the audience heard (Acts 2:33). Just as the fruit of the Holy Spirit is singular (Galatians 5:22), the Spirit's “word” from Peter in Acts 2:40 is singular but is made up of all the Spirit's words that were heard (Acts 2:33). We read of there being a plural of words preached by Peter, but the actual receiving by the 3000 was the singular “Word” (Acts 2:40, 41). They accepted “the whole package.” To be approved by God, it is the whole package or none.

We are told by another apostle that each word is selected and taught by the Holy Spirit. As Paul explains, “But we received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is from God; that we might know the things that were freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Spirit teacheth; combining spiritual things with spiritual words” (1 Corinthians 2:12-13, ASV). The Holy Spirit selects the words for the prophet.

Jesus had said to His apostles: “But the Comforter, even the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said unto you” (John 14:26, ASV). “For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say” (Luke 12:12).

The Gift of “Calling Upon”

Whosoever shall calli” is in the middle voice and therefore means “to call upon for oneself” (i.e., on one's behalf).ii It is appealing to a supreme authority as Stephen does in Acts 7:59 and Paul does in his appeal to Caesar (Acts 25:11).

His Name

The name of the Lord”: according to Strong's Dictionary, “authority, character” of the master. Jesus has all authority “in heaven and in earth” (Matthew 28:18). It wasn't just saying the name. It was submitting and obeying the authority.

Identity of the Lord

The Holy Spirit had Peter identify Jesus as the Lord foretold in Joel's prophecy (Acts 2:16). The Spirit proclaims, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:36). The Lord that saves is Jesus, the promised Messiah who was predicted by David to sit and rule with God (Acts 2:30). Whosoever shall appeal to the authority of Jesus shall be saved.

The Gift And The Gospel

Remember that Jesus equated the Holy Spirit with “good things” from the Father (Matthew 7:11; Luke 11:13). The apostle Paul provides an inspired commentary on the gift of the Holy Spirit. “For 'whosoever shall call upon the name of the LORD shall be saved.' How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear apart from a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? Just as it is written: 'How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, of those preaching the glad tidings of good things!'" (Romans 10:13-15).

The gift of the Holy Spirit, according to the apostle Paul, is the gospel (“good news”) of good things. 1. Salvation is by calling on the Lord Jesus. 2. In order to call on Jesus, one must believe in Him. 3. In order to believe, they must hear the gospel of Jesus preached. 4. The preacher must be sent (apostellōG649; Strong's: “set apart, to send out”; the word apostleG652, “a delegate”, is derived from this word).

The Wordiii Of God Speaks

Jesus is the Word from Heaven; that is, God's “reasoned speech” for mankind (Strong's; Thayer's; Vine's, see above). The apostle John uses this word as a figure (trope) for the Lord Jesus (John 1:1-3; 14). “The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” (John 1:14). When the early Christians read John’s gospel, they could connect his first words with the spoken ‘word of the LORD’ expressed in their Greek Old Testament (LXX).iv This "word" meant "that which is spoken". Jesus speaks through the apostles' words. "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard" (Epistle of 1 John 1:1). Note how the first words in this epistle which describe Jesus as the Word of life, include that the Word was heard. The Word is spoken and heard. Peter said this promise of the Father is “that which you see and hear” (Acts 2:33).

The Word to Be Received

But as many as received Him (the Word), He gave them the authority to become children of God, to those who believe in His name; who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:12, 13). John is understood to be writing after the events of Acts 2; therefore, the many mentioned as receiving Jesus, the Word of life, include the 3000 souls. Receiving the Word of God gave the 3000 the right to be reborn as children of God. John equates the receiving to believing. The 3000 believed the word and were then baptized in water and hence, were born again (Acts 10:47; John 3:3,5).

The Characteristics of the Word (Logos From Heaven, John 1:1-3)

  1. The Word can and must be heard. “But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it” (Matthew 13:20), Sergius Paulus desired to “hear the word of God” (Acts 13:7).

  2. The Word can and must be received. “Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John” (Acts 8:14). “Receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your souls” (James 1:21). [They had received the Holy Spirit's gift but not His power, which is referred to by metonomy as the Holy Spirit “upon”, 8:15].

  3. The Word can and must be kept. John 8:51 “Verily, verily, I say unto you, If a man keep my word, he shall never see death” (John 8:51,ASV). “Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my word” (singular, John 14:23).

  4. The Word can and must be taught. “And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them” (Acts 18:11).

  5. The Word can and must be acted upon. “But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves” (James 1:22).

  6. The Word can be corrupted and rendered ineffective. “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ” (2 Corinthians 2:17); “But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully” (2 Corinthians 4:2).

Two Methods Of Receiving?

There is a vast difference between [the method of] spoken or written word, which is presented to men and offers them a choice of obeying or disobeying, and an ‘Experience’ [or illumination] which influences man’s morals and behaviour by some unseen and mystical means. The Scriptures bear abundant record to the fact that God chose to approach men by the first method.”v vi


The Logos “Word” is the Holy Spirit's gift's object in Acts 2:38 and something tangible to reach for, grasp and receive (2:33, 38). Peter said that the promise predicted by Joel was what the audience saw and heard. The Word was heard by them. They were told to receive the gift. What they received was the word. Therefore, the gift of the Holy Spirit is the Prophetic Word of the Spirit.
        The ‘
word’ can only become part of us by our absorption in studying it from the written page (spoken word in the first century). There is no other way. Even Timothy who had a grace gift of the Holy Spirit was commanded to “study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). " (2 Corinthians 4:2, DIAG). Even the apostles had to learn what they were teaching; e.g., that the Gentiles were qualified to receive the Word (e.g., Peter in Acts 10 and 11).     Those who claim otherwise are falsifying the word of God.”

Gaylon West

Throw Out the Lifeline

Other articles in this series, The Gift of the Holy Spirit:

i   epikaleoG1941

ii   Vines Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words.

iii   In the English N.T. "word" is mainly a translation of four Greek words -Epo, Apaggello, Logos and Rhema. The two last words are translated mostly by "word”. Vine's Expository Dictionary quotes from Abbott-Smith for distinguishing between the two words: logos is reasoned speech; rhema, an utterance. Although Abbott-Smith suggests there

to be a shade of difference in meaning, comparison of texts will show an interchangeability; e.g., 2 Peter 3:5 and Hebrews 11:3.

iv   As ‘logos Kuriou’.

v   TBSM - "The Language of Apostasy - Logos", Vol. 3, P. 10. Quoted in

vi   Recommended: Jackson, Wayne. "The Holy Spirit "Illumination" Theory: A Critical Review." Access date: January 25, 2016. critical-review-the