In Dave Black’s Sunday, June 2, 9:15 AM post, he quotes T. C. Robinson’s recounting of a friend appealing to Acts 2:38 as an example of a passage that suggests all Christians should speak in tongues. T. C.’s friend took “the gift of the Holy Spirit” to be the gift of tongues given by the Holy Spirit. Dave responds:
For what it’s worth, I might note that I’ve always thought “the gift of the Holy Spirit” in Acts 2:38 to be an example of the genitive of apposition (also called the epexegetical genitive). The idea is, “the gift, that is, the Holy Spirit.” A paraphrase of Peter’s words might be, “You will receive the Holy Spirit as a gift.” In other words, there is nothing here of a specific gift of the Holy Spirit (tongues, prophecy, healing, teaching, etc.). The Holy Spirit, Himself, is the gift. Another NT example might be Jesus’ promise that He would give the people “the sign of Jonah.” What He seemed to mean was, “I will give you Jonah as a sign.”
What do you think?
Well, Dr. Black, I’ll tell you what I think; I think you’re absolutely correct, and I say this as a man whose entire adult Christian life has been spent as an unabashed Pentecostal! I’ve never seen Acts 2:38 used in such a way but I’ve personally used it in exactly the way you suggest—numerous times in fact—especially in presenting the gospel. I love to speak of the Trinitarian shape of Pentecost and I point especially to Peter’s sermon in which he speaks of God raising up Jesus in order to pour out the gift/promise of his Spirit. And what a wonderful gift the Holy Spirit is!