Who Was Acting Drunk?

I dropped in on Bible study, and had an interesting insight that challenges some modern church ideas about the nature and moving of the Holy Spirit.  {Then again, maybe it was just a crazy thought.}

Take another look at the day of Pentecost and being ‘Drunk in the Spirit.’

4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.

7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?

8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?

9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,

10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,

11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

12 And they were all amazed, and were in doubt, saying one to another, What meaneth this?

13 Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine.

In open discussion, someone asked “Why on earth would anyone accuse these people of being drunk?” 

Here’s the answer that, ‘came to me’ after some pondering.

There were three groups of people there:

1.) The 120 Disciples: They came down from the Upper Room, praising God in other tongues.

2.) The Devout Jews: These Jews lived in Jerusalem, but came from every nation.

3.) The Others: They mocked and made accusations of intoxication.

Why would they accuse these people of being drunk? 

Let’s examine both miracles and decide which group could be mistaken for having imbibed so early in the day…

The SPEAKING Miracle:

The fact that the 120 disciples were speaking in these foreign tongues is a miracle.  They were filled with the Holy Ghost and spoke with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them the utterance.

The HEARING Miracle:

The next miracle was that everyone heard in their own tongue and dialect.  They heard the people speaking their ‘native’ tongues.

Who was accused of INTOXICATION?

It makes sense to conclude that the accusations were pointed toward those in the crowd who heard them speaking in their own language.  The HEARERS would have been the ones causing a ruckus.  They might have even appeared tipsy, when they disputed the dialect, language, and origins of the speech.

They were being rowdy, and they were arguing about which language was being spoken.  They couldn’t get their story straight.  Some said these were Galilaeans, some said Egyptians, and some said Arabians.  This led to no small stirring within the crowd.  They mocked what they saw, and they disagreed. They all knew that the others were wrong.

I think the crowd in this text was accusing the HEARERS, not the SPEAKERS.

Thinking this way will effectively challenge everything that’s taught about ‘drunkenness’ as a virtue of Holy Spirit baptism, but those who seek to embrace that interpretation can find plenty of support for that conclusion in other verses.

DrDIY is a food-safety professional with an extensive sanitation background within the food & beverage manufacturing industry. He consults on food-safety - from hygienic-design to integrated pest-management through microbiology support, quality improvement audits, total-process management philosophy, CIP optimization, and lean-six-sigma project participation.

Overcoming an extended disability through a complete overhaul of diet and nutrition, DrDIY embraced traditional naturopathy and combined the wisdom of nature with the principles of modern sanitation to help build more sustainable systems within the food industry. He continues to study and practice holistic nutrition, food-safety, detoxification, and self-improvement and this site represents personal experience and opinion - and does not reflect the position of any employer past or present.

His posts have always been a 'stream of consciousness' montage with occasional ventures into Christology and pop culture, just to keep things interesting.

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