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.
means to answer this question as his opening words indicate: ‘Let this be known to you; listen to my explanation ... This [which you have experienced] is what was spoken about by the prophet Joel...’ (vv. 14, 16). Peter aims at comprehension: his words will try to make satisfying sense of the crowd’s experience. To explain ‘what this means’, Peter proposes two answers, which, upon further thought, really form one7.
The speech is an intellectual exercise? Given the indicators in the Acts text which I have noted just above, it would be difficult to claim that the speech, which certainly contributed to the conversion of 3,000 persons, had as its goal to move the audience to an action (e.g., repentance, or baptism)8. The triumphant final verse of Peter’s uninterrupted presentation centers explicitly on the opening words addressing the intellect: ‘Let [the entire house of Israel] know therefore with conviction...’9. Certainly, the truth Peter claims is one which would eventually help lead his audience to a practical action, but this practical action and the call to it occur only after a dialogue and ‘many other words’ result in conversion. By itself, the Pentecost speech is a forceful argument that Jesus is Lord and Messiah of Israel; this is an intellectual argument, not a direct or explicit appeal to conversion, to practical action10.