John Kilgallen, «‘With many other words’ (Acts 2,40): Theological Assumptions in Peter’s Pentecost Speech», Vol. 83 (2002) 71-87
The complete effectiveness of Peter’s Pentecost speech implies that the Lucan audience, if not that of Peter, knows at least three assumptions that are needed to make the speech as logically convincing as possible. These three assumptions are: (1) that Jesus is physically Son of David; (2) that the kyrios of Ps 110,1 is the Messiah; (3) that only the titles ‘Son’ and ‘Father’ should be used when describing that it is Jesus who poured out the Spirit. As for Peter’s audience, the fact that Peter supported his speech with ‘many other words (arguments)’ might argue that his audience were introduced to these three assumptions. As for Luke’s audience, Luke 1,35 and its context play a major role in justifying the logic of this Pentecost speech.
Having begun at Acts, 2,14b, Peter’s speech at Pentecost ends with Acts 2,361. This bevy of verses, Acts 2,14b-36, is self-contained and finds its highpoint in its final verse, the call of Peter to his audience to recognize that God has made Jesus, whom it had rejected, Lord and Messiah of Israel. One notes that, with v. 41, Luke reports the number of conversions to be ‘about three thousand’. Are these conversions to be understood to be the result of just vv. 14b-36?
It seems more reasonable to say that the conversions reported in v. 41 are the result of Peter’s Pentecostal words, together with other statements (one might include those cited in vv. 38-39) and, especially, ‘many other words’ (v. 40). The indication that speaks of ‘many other words’ before the announcement of the large numbers converted makes the reader suspect that the Pentecost speech alone was not conceived by Luke as having, in itself, the power to bring about these many conversions2. But, the speech, expanded and developed3, and joined with other arguments — that would be the matrix of ideas which, under the power of God, would move so many people to conversion.
Thus, one is led to the supposition that the Pentecost speech of Peter is a very good presentation of the truth about Jesus, a representative presentation which at the same time shows the strength of a