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The holy spirit and speaking in tongues

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This is a collection of writings dealing with the issue of speaking in tongues. There is debate on this issue, and Christians have different views. It is a challenge to read them and come to a conclusion as to what is the most biblical view,.

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The holy spirit and speaking in tongues

  1. 1. THE HOLY SPIRIT AND SPEAKING IN TONGUES EDITED BY GLENN PEASE Acts 19:6 6WhenPaul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spiritcame on them, and they spokein tongues and prophesied. NOTE:The tongues may have been a foreign language or a private language spokento God, but the prophesying is a speaking in their own language forall who speak that language to hear and understand. Paul makes it clearthat prophecy is the greaterof the two. He writes in 1 Corinthians 14:1-40 "Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especiallythat you may prophesy. For one who speaks in a tongue speaks notto men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit. On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaksto people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greaterthan the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up. ..." STUDYLIGHT RESOURCES Adam Clarke Commentary
  2. 2. They spake with tongues, and prophesied - They receivedthe miraculous gift of different languages;and in those languages they taught to the people the greatdoctrines of the Christian religion; for this appears to be the meaning of the word προεφητευον, prophesied, as it is used above. Copyright Statement These files are public domain. Bibliography Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Acts 19:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/acts- 19.html. 1832. return to 'Jump List' Albert Barnes'Notes onthe Whole Bible And when Paul laid his hands … - See the notes on Acts 8:17. And they spake with tongues - See the notes on Acts 2:4; Acts 10:46. And prophesied - See the notes on Acts 2:17; Acts 11:27. Copyright Statement These files are public domain. Bibliography Barnes, Albert. "Commentaryon Acts 19:6". "Barnes'Notes onthe New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/acts- 19.html. 1870. return to 'Jump List'
  3. 3. Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them; and they spake with tongues and prophesied. And they were in all about twelve men. It is a mistake to make another Pentecostout of this. Walkersaid that "This was the same phenomenon witnessedon Pentecostand at the house of Cornelius";[11]but in neither case was the phenomenon due to the imposition of apostolic hands. This is therefore clearly something else. As Lange declared:"The true baptism ... and not the imposition of hands ... (is among) the conditions upon which the gift of the Spirit depends."[12]Bruner, who did an incredible amount of study on this, said: Peterdoes not contrastthe gift of the Spirit and baptism; he joins them ... It is one of the major purposes of Acts to show that baptism and the gift of the Holy Spirit belong indissolubly together. This is the speciallessonof Acts 8 and Acts 19.[13] Ramsayseems to be correctwhen he supposed that: Luke's purpose in dwelling on this episode is to show that even Apollos' teaching at Corinth was Pauline in characterand owed its effectiveness largely to the ideas of Paul, learned through Paul's two disciples (Aquila and Priscilla).[14] Certainly the episode before us, so closelyconnectedwith Apollos' instruction by Aquila and Priscilla, casts Paulin the role of correcting those who had been inadequately taught, and whose baptism had been for a purpose other than that of bringing them "into Christ."
  4. 4. Before leaving this, it should be inquired what application this has for the Christians today and for those who desire to declare the whole counselof God. DISCIPLES NEEDINGRE-BAPTISM Are there any today whose baptism was so defective or inadequate that they should be baptized again"into the Lord Jesus"? The answerwithout any doubt whatever is affirmative. And who are they? (1) Those who were baptized in infancy, or at a time in childhood so early that no adequate understanding of the ordinance was possible. Millions today have never in any sense obeyedthe apostolic injunction to "have yourselves baptized" as Peter commanded (Acts 2:38)[15] That passagemakesit absolutely clearthat the convert must consciously, andof his own will, submit to Christian baptism. If infant baptism is adequate, then baptism without faith, confession, or repentance is valid; and this we hold to be absolutelyimpossible of acceptance. (2)Those whose baptism was by some actionother than the immersion submitted to by Christ, taught by the apostles, andpracticedby the apostolic church, which actionwas denominated by the Holy Spirit as a figure of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ (Romans 6:3-5), making it certain that forms of baptism (so-called)without such a likeness are invalid. (3) Those whose baptism was an action initiated by others, not themselves, or whose baptism was in their hearts undertaken for any unscriptural purpose, such as (a) merely going with the group, (b) primarily to please parents, husband, wife, or other persons, or (c) any purpose other than that of surrendering the soul to the Lord as commanded in the gospeland for the purpose of coming "into Christ," receiving the forgiveness ofsins and the promise of the Holy Spirit. (4) Those whose baptism was understood by themselves as having no connectionwith salvation, or as being, in their view, absolutely unnecessary, irrelevant, or unessential. (5) Those whose baptism, instead of being "into Christ," was into some organizationunknown to the Scripture, operating contrary to New Testamentauthority, and constituting some kind of fellowship other than that of Christians "in Christ." This writer earnestly prays that all who read these lines will ask himself in all humility, "Was I Scripturally baptized?" If the answeris negative, the re- baptism of these twelve disciples at Ephesus, long ago, provides an inspiring
  5. 5. example of what should be done. There was nothing wrong with their baptism, exceptthat it had been for the wrong purpose; but that was enough to invalidate it. One hundred sixty-nine times, in the writings of Paul alone, the New Testamentuses the expression"in Christ," "in him," or its equivalent;[16] and that says as loudly as it could be said that this purpose of Christian baptism is absolutelyvital and should be honored by all men (Romans 6:3-5; Galatians 3:26,27). [11] W. R. Walker, Studies in Acts (Joplin, Missouri: College Press), p. 53. [12] John PeterLange, Commentary on Acts (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1866), p. 350. [13] Frederick Dale Bruner, A Theologyofthe Holy Spirit (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans, Publishers, 1971), p. 169. [14] Sir William M. Ramsay, Pictures of the Apostolic Church (Grand Rapids, Michigan: BakerBook House, 1959), p. 216. [15] Vine's Greek Dictionary(Old Tappan, New Jersey.:Fleming H. Revell Company, 1962), p. 97. [16] John Mackay, God's Order(New York: The MacmillanCompany), 1953), p. 97. Copyright Statement James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved. Bibliography Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Acts 19:6". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/acts-19.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999. return to 'Jump List'
  6. 6. John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible And when Paul had laid his hands upon them,.... They having been before baptized, not by him, but by John, or one of his disciples, in the name of the Lord Jesus;just as Peterand John laid their hands upon the believing Samaritans, who had been before baptized by Philip, Acts 8:14 and the same extraordinary effects followed: the Holy Ghostcame on them; in his extraordinary gifts, whose specialgrace they had before an experience of: and they spake with tongues; with other tongues, or in other languages, which they had never learned, or had been used to, as the disciples did at the day of "Pentecost":and prophesied; preached, having an extraordinary gift at once, of explaining the prophecies of the Old Testament, and also foretold things to come. Copyright Statement The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernisedand adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario. A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855 Bibliography Gill, John. "Commentary on Acts 19:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/acts- 19.html. 1999. return to 'Jump List' Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible they spake with tongues, etc. — See on Acts 10:44, Acts 10:45.
  7. 7. Copyright Statement These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scannedby Woodside Bible Fellowship. This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-BrownCommentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed. Bibliography Jamieson, Robert, D.D.;Fausset,A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Acts 19:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/acts-19.html. 1871-8. return to 'Jump List' People's New Testament When Paul had laid his hands on them. It seemedproper that these men should enjoy, not only the ordinary influence of the Spirit, but that some spiritual gifts should be imparted, such as were given by the laying on of apostolic hands. Compare Acts 8:17; Romans 1:11. Spake with tongues. Of this ancient gift we learn (1) it edified only the speaker (1 Corinthians 14:4); (2) to benefit others an interpreter was needed(1Co. 14:5-27);(3) God could understand (1 Corinthians 14:2). This gift disappearedat an early date from the church. Copyright Statement These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian ClassicsEtherealLibrary Website.
  8. 8. Original work done by Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 atThe RestorationMovementPages. Bibliography Johnson, BartonW. "Commentary on Acts 19:6". "People'sNew Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pnt/acts-19.html. 1891. return to 'Jump List' Robertson's WordPictures in the New Testament When Paul had laid his hands upon them (επιτεντος αυτοις του Παυλου χειρας — epithentos autois tou Paulou cheiras). Genitive absolute of second aoristactive participle of επιτιτημι — epitithēmi This actof laying on of the hands was done in Samaria by Peterand John (Acts 8:16) and in Damascus in the case ofPaul (Acts 9:17) and was followedas here by the descentof the Holy Spirit in supernatural power. They spake with tongues (ελαλουν γλωσσαις — elaloun glōssais). Inchoative imperfect, beganto speak with tongues as in Jerusalemat Pentecostandas in Caesarea before the baptism. Prophesied(επροπητευον— eprophēteuon). Inchoative imperfect again, beganto prophesy. The speaking with tongues and prophesying was external and indubitable proof that the Holy Spirit had come on these twelve uninformed disciples now fully won to the service of Jesus as Messiah. But this baptism in water did not “convey” the Holy Spirit nor forgiveness ofsins. Paul was not a sacramentalist. Copyright Statement
  9. 9. The Robertson's WordPictures of the New Testament. Copyright � Broadman Press 1932,33,Renewal1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern BaptistSunday SchoolBoard) Bibliography Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Acts 19:6". "Robertson's WordPictures of the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/acts-19.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal1960. return to 'Jump List' John Trapp Complete Commentary 6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. Ver. 6. And prophesied] By a divine and evident inspiration they expounded the writings of the prophets, and also foretold future events. Copyright Statement These files are public domain. Text Courtesyof BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission. Bibliography Trapp, John. "Commentary on Acts 19:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/acts- 19.html. 1865-1868. return to 'Jump List'
  10. 10. Greek TestamentCriticalExegeticalCommentary 6.] See ch. Acts 8:17; Acts 10:46, and note on ch. Acts 2:4; and on ἐπροφ., ch. Acts 11:27, note. Copyright Statement These files are public domain. Text Courtesyof BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission. Bibliography Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Acts 19:6". Greek TestamentCritical ExegeticalCommentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/acts-19.html. 1863-1878. return to 'Jump List' Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomonof the New Testament Acts 19:6. καὶ, and) A very similar instance occurs, ch. Acts 8:12; Acts 8:15- 16, in the case ofsome persons who had been at first baptized in the name of JESUS, and afterwards receivedthe Holy Ghost.— ἦλθε) came promptly.— ἐπʼ αὐτοὺς, upon them) Therefore they knew now from the effectthat there is (the presence of)the Holy Ghost, Acts 19:2. Copyright Statement These files are public domain. Text Courtesyof BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission. Bibliography Bengel, JohannAlbrecht. "Commentary on Acts 19:6". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomonof the New Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/acts-19.html. 1897.
  11. 11. return to 'Jump List' Matthew Poole's EnglishAnnotations on the Holy Bible Laid his hands upon them; thereby ordaining and authorizing of them to preach the gospel. The Holy Ghostcame on them; in those extraordinary gifts of tongues, &c., whereby they were fitted to preach the gospelunto any nation or people unto whom they should be sent. Prophesied;they prophesied, either in its proper sense, being enabled to foretell things that were to come; or in a larger and more improper sense, praising and magnifying of God, and declaring the hidden mysteries of the gospel;expounding the Scriptures, especiallythe prophecies concerning Christ, as 1 Corinthians 14:1. Copyright Statement These files are public domain. Text Courtesyof BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission. Bibliography Poole, Matthew, "Commentaryon Acts 19:6". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/acts-19.html. 1685. return to 'Jump List' Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament The Holy Ghostcame on them; with his miraculous power, as he had done on other disciples. Copyright Statement
  12. 12. These files are public domain. Text Courtesyof BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission. Bibliography Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on Acts 19:6". "Family Bible New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/acts- 19.html. American TractSociety. 1851. return to 'Jump List' Cambridge Greek Testamentfor Schools andColleges 6. ἦλθεν τὸ πνεῦμα τ. ἅ. ἐπ' αὐτούς, the Holy Ghost came upon them. The gift of the Holy Ghostto these disciples appears to have been a specialprovision of the Spirit for the greatwork which was to change Ephesus, from the city wholly devoted to the goddess Diana, into the centre of Christian life throughout the westof Asia Minor for severalcenturies. ἐλάλουν τε γλώσσαις, and they spake with tongues. A Pentecostaloutpouring; for as in Jerusalemthe gift wrought its effectamong the Jews then gathered there from every quarter, so was the Spirit given in this greatcentre of Gentile activity that a like result might follow, and that the amazement and marvel at such a powermight win attention to the message andgain converts to Christ. καὶ ἐπροφήτευον, and prophesied. Probably in this case to be understood of the expositionof Old Testamentprophecy, and of the power of preaching bestowedon them by the gift of the Holy Ghost. The foretelling of future events would be no such help to the cause of Christ as would the powerof prophecy in this other sense. Copyright Statement These files are public domain. Text Courtesyof BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
  13. 13. Bibliography "Commentary on Acts 19:6". "Cambridge Greek Testamentfor Schools and Colleges".https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/acts-19.html. 1896. return to 'Jump List' Whedon's Commentary on the Bible 6. Spake with tongues—We have here a miniature Pentecost,a new outpouring of the charismatic Spirit upon a new twelve. Copyright Statement These files are public domain. Text Courtesyof BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission. Bibliography Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Acts 19:6". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/acts-19.html. 1874-1909. return to 'Jump List' William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament 6. “And Paul, laying hands on them, the Holy Ghost came on them, and they continued to speak with tongues and prophecy.” Conversionis indispensable to discipleship. Hence these disciples had been converted under the ministry of Apollos. Paul not only leads them didactically and ceremonially out of the Johanic into the Christian dispensation, but inaugurates a regular holiness meeting for their sanctification, culminating in their spiritual illumination and preparation for the experience which they, in due time, receive on their knees at the altar, while Paul prays for them and lays hands on them. Here we have clearNew Testamentprecedentand Apostolicalauthority for the secondwork of grace. There is no evasionof the issue. The Holy Ghost calls no sinner
  14. 14. “disciple.” Hence these were all converted before Paul arrived. When, under the ministry of Paul, the Holy Ghost came on them, even imparting His extraordinary gifts, i. e., “tongues and prophecy,” clearly confirming the fact of their sanctification, as these spiritual gifts are normal only to the sanctified. We should still retain the imposition of hands while praying for people, that they may be imbued with the Holy Ghost. It is certainly safe to follow New Testamentprecedentand Apostolic practice. The innate impressibility of the human spirit through the physical organismis beyond our comprehension. God help us meekly to walk in the footprints of our predecessors. Copyright Statement These files are public domain. Text Courtesyof BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission. Bibliography Godbey, William. "Commentary on Acts 19:6". "William Godbey's Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ges/acts-19.html. return to 'Jump List' PeterPett's Commentary on the Bible ‘And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke with tongues, and prophesied.’ But the Holy Spirit did not come on them until Paul laid his hands on them and identified them with the Christian church. It was necessarythat this be so, so that it would be crystal clearthat initially the disciples of John had only ‘receivedthe Spirit’ on becoming united with the Christian church through the laying on of hands of an Apostle.
  15. 15. The laying on of hands is always a mark of identification. Where it takes place under the strict direction of God the result will always be that the Holy Spirit comes on the one who has hands laid on him if he has not previously known the Spirit. It canalso result in a specialenduement with the Spirit on one chosenby God. But it is not the laying on of hands that ensures either. It is the fact that Godhas made His will known, and His people then identify those whom God has chosen. Once Godhas made His will knownthe identification by holy men of that one will ensure the coming of the enduement of power. But where the will of God is lacking, any laying on of hands will be an empty ceremony. This incident is similar to that with the Samaritans Acts 8:16-17, and in contrastwith that of Cornelius Acts 11:44, in that the coming of the Holy Spirit is delayed until the recipients have been directly identified with an Apostle by the laying on of hands. This would seemto be because both were examples of distinct bodies who already saw themselves as worshipping the God of Israeland who were both therefore in dangerof being satisfiedwith what they were and thus not uniting with the whole church of God. Thus in both casesit had to be made clearthat their receptionof the Spirit came though the one true church of Jesus Christ founded by the Apostles. For Cornelius and his group the word which gave life came directly through an Apostle and there was therefore no danger of schism. We also learn that when the Holy Spirit came on these men they ‘spoke with tongues and prophesied’. This would identify them with Pentecost, and with Cornelius and his men, for the same thing happened in both cases. Theytoo were being receivedby God on the same basis as both Jew and Gentile, through the receptionof the Spirit. It was sealing the fact that the disciples of John were now being united in the body of Christ, and that without that union what they had experiencedwas only partial and insufficient. We have no reasonfor assuming that such an experience of the coming of the Holy Spirit on men as witnessedby tongues and prophecy was commonplace for Paul. It is the first time in Acts that he is associatedwith such an experience. Seeing the effect of the Holy Spirit coming on the men accompaniedby tongues and prophecy would be seenby him as a fulfilment of
  16. 16. Pentecostbefore his eyes, a reminder that what Pentecosthadbrought for men was still as realthere in Ephesus as it was previously. We note that while all spoke in praise of God, only some spoke in tongues. But the tongues were necessaryso that they might all recognise thatthey were entering into the same experience as the infant church had at Jerusalem. Theytoo were being ‘baptised into the body of Christ’ (1 Corinthians 12:13). The remainder praised and glorified God in their own language. In this case we are not told whether the tongues were identifiable to anyone, but the group, even though small, may well have been multi-racial. It may even be that the prophesying was in Greek or Aramaic while the tongues were their own native tongues, and that the fact of their spontaneous praise in this way was really the important sign(both tongues and prophesying are mentioned together). Copyright Statement These files are public domain. Text Courtesyof BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission. Bibliography Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Acts 19:6". "PeterPett's Commentary on the Bible ". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/acts-19.html. 2013. return to 'Jump List' Expository Notes ofDr. Thomas Constable As with the new converts in Samaria, these Ephesiandisciples received the Holy Spirit when an apostle, this time Paul, laid his hands on them (cf. Acts 8:17). They did not receive the Spirit by waterbaptism. In Samaria, this identification of the coming of the Spirit with Peterand John first authenticated God"s giving of the Spirit in a non-Jewishcontext. Here the
  17. 17. identification of the coming of the Spirit with Paul authenticated God"s giving of the Spirit in a town in which demonic religious activity flourished (cf. Acts 19:13-19). As subsequent events would show, the Jesus whomPaul preached was the more powerful deity. These former disciples of John receivedthe Holy Spirit when Paul laid his hands on them thus obviously connecting their endowment with Paul"s messageandapostolic authority. There was no delay in the Spirit coming on Cornelius when he believed, and Peterdid not have to lay his hands on him to impart the Spirit ( Acts 10:44). There are some interesting parallels betweenSpirit baptism as it took place in Ephesus in this chapter and how it occurredin Samaria in chapter8. 1. Word is preached to the Samaritans (by Philip); many become disciples and are baptized ( Acts 8:4-13). 1. God"s Word is proclaimed to the men at Ephesus (earlier by Apollos?); some become disciples and are baptized (John"s baptism, Acts 18:24-26). 2. Peterand John come to Samaria and see that the presence of the Spirit is not evident in the disciples" lives ( Acts 8:14-16). 2. Paul comes to Ephesus and notes that the presence ofthe Spirit is not evident in the disciples" lives ( Acts 19:1-5). 3.
  18. 18. Peterand John lay hands on the disciples;the Holy Spirit comes upon them ( Acts 8:17). 3. Paul lays his hands on the disciples;the Holy Spirit comes upon them ( Acts 19:6). 4. Peterand John"s ministry engagesthe interest of the magicianSimon ( Acts 8:20-24). 4. Paul"s ministry stimulates the interest of exorcists;the sevensons of Sceva ( Acts 19:13). 5. A conflict arises betweenPeterand Simon. Simon is overwhelmed ( Acts 8:20- 24). 5. A conflict arises betweenthe exorcists and demons. The exorcists are overwhelmed ( Acts 19:14-16). 6. Peterand John preach in many of the Samaritan villages before returning to Jerusalem( Acts 8:25). 6.
  19. 19. All those in Asia hear the Word of the Lord as a result of Paul"s teaching ( Acts 19:10). 7. Many miracles are performed among the Samaritans by Philip ( Acts 8:6-8). 7. Paul performs specialmiracles by the powerof God ( Acts 19:11-12)." [Note: Harm, pp35-36.] The phenomenon of the separate conversionand Spirit baptism experiences of some Christians that Luke recordedin Acts may need further clarification. It seems that God wanted to highlight the fulfillment of Jesus" promise that He would send the Holy Spirit to be in and with believers ( John 14:16-18;John 14:26;John 15:26). To do so God made the coming of the Spirit obvious until the church generally appreciatedthe fact that it normally occurredat the time of regeneration. "This story has often been used as the basis for doctrines about the reception of gifts of the Spirit subsequent to conversion;but it has no real connection with these. RatherPaul was dealing with an unusual situation which required specialtreatment.... ". . . it is safe to saythat the New Testamentdoes not recognize the possibility of being a Christian apart from possessionofthe Spirit ( John 3:5; Acts 11:17; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 12:3; Galatians 3:2; 1 Thessalonians1:5 f.; Titus 3:5; Hebrews 6:4; 1 Peter1:2; 1 John 3:24; 1 John 4:13)." [Note: Marshall, The Acts . . ., p305. See also Wiersbe, 1:481.]
  20. 20. "It should be noted that the reception of the Holy Spirit [by Christians] in Acts does not follow any setpattern. He came into believers before baptism ( Acts 10:44), at the time of or after baptism ( Acts 8:12-16;Acts 19:6), and by the laying on of apostolic hands ( Acts 8:17; Acts 19:6). Yet Paul declared( Romans 8:9) that anyone without the Holy Spirit is not a Christian. Quite obviously the transitional Book ofActs is not to be used as a doctrinal source on how to receive the Holy Spirit (cf. comments on tongues, 1 Corinthians 13:8 to 1 Corinthians 14:25)." [Note:Toussaint, " Acts ," p409. Cf. Harm, p38.] "Ephesus was a polyglot city of the Roman Empire. There were many languages spokenthere, just as there had been in Jerusalemon the Day of Pentecost. Eastand Westmet all along that coast....These menwere now able to give the goodnews about Christ to the entire city." [Note: McGee, 4:597.] This is the lastreference to speaking in tongues in Acts (cf. Acts 2:4; Acts 10:46;1 Corinthians 12:10;1 Corinthians 12:28; 1 Corinthians 12:30;1 Corinthians 13:1; 1 Corinthians 13:8; 1 Corinthians 14). Is this gift still in the church today? Some charismatic Christians believe that it is. They argue mainly from experience, having heard someone, perhaps themselves, speak in what others refer to as tongues. In most caseswhatthey call tongues is gibberish, not knownlanguages. This is different from what the New Testamentidentified as tongues, namely, known languages (cf1Corinthians12; 1 Corinthians 14). In a few cases people have apparently spokenin known languages thatthey have not studied, the type of tongues-speaking that the New Testamentdescribes. The real issue is what the New Testamentsays about tongues, not what one may have experienced. It says that they would pass awayor cease of themselves, as in petering out ( 1 Corinthians 13:8, middle voice of pauo).
  21. 21. When would this happen? The New Testamentdoes not specifywhen, but it implies that they would peter out before prophecy would end (lit. be terminated [by God], passive voice of katargeo, 1 Corinthians 13:8). I do not believe that any one verse indicates that tongues would cease ordid cease in the apostolic period. However, I think it is safe to conclude that they did for two reasons. (Similarly we believe the doctrine of the Trinity not because there is a verse that clearly teaches it but because many verses leadus to conclude that God exists as a triune being.) First, other New Testament passagesimply that they would and did cease then( Ephesians 2:20; Hebrews 2:3-4). Second, the early church fathers wrote that tongues peteredout in the early history of the church even though there were rare instances of the phenomenon after that. [Note:Origen (ca185-ca254 A.D.), "AgainstCelsus," 7:8 in The Ante-Nicene Fathers, 4:614;Chrysostom(347-407A.D.), "Homily12on Matthew ," in The Nicene and Post-NiceneFathers, 10:77; idem, "Homily14onRomans ," ibid, 11:447;idem, "Homily29 on1Corinthians," ibid, 12:168;idem, "Homily6 on1Corinthians," ibid, 12:31; Augustine (354-430A.D.), "On Baptism, Against the Donatists," 3:16:21 , ibid, 4:443; idem, "The Epistle of St. John ," 6:10 , ibid, 7:497-98;idem, "The Epistle of1John. Homily," 6:10 , ibid, 7:497-98;idem, "The Answer to the Letters of Petition, to Donatist," 2:32:74 , ibid, 4:548;and idem, "On the Gospelof St. John , Tractate," 32:7 , ibid, 7:195. See also Dillow, Speaking in ..., pp147-64 , for further information about the historical cessationofthe gift of tongues.] Speaking in Tongues in Acts Reference Speakers Audience Time
  22. 22. Purpose Acts 2:1-4 The Twelve and possibly others Unsaved Jews After salvation To validate for Jews the coming of the Spirit Acts 10:44-47 Gentiles SavedJews Same time as salvation To validate for Jews God"s acceptance ofGentiles Acts 19:1-7 Disciples ofJohn the Baptist Jews and Gentiles Same time as salvation To validate for Jews Paul"s message How can we explain the instances of people speaking in languages they have not studied today? It may be that God occasionallygives people this ability today, though the evidence of this happening is rare. Practicallyno one, including respectedcharismatic leaders, claims that the ability to speak in a language that one has not studied exists today as it did in New Testament times. Obviously the ability to graspa foreign language readily as one studies it is not the New Testamentgift of tongues.
  23. 23. God evidently gave the gift of prophesying to eachof these Ephesian disciples to enable them to assume leadership of the church and the church"s mission. This gift involves speaking forth the Word of God and leading the worship of God. Copyright Statement These files are public domain. Text Courtesyof BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission. Bibliography Constable, Thomas. DD. "Commentaryon Acts 19:6". "Expository Notes of Dr. Thomas Constable". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dcc/acts-19.html. 2012. return to 'Jump List' Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament Acts 19:6. And they spake with tongues. The immediate effectof their baptism, after that Paul had laid his hands upon them, was the visible presence ofthe Holy Ghostamong them manifesting itself in the form of supernatural gifts. These gifts took the form of ‘speaking with tongues’ and ‘prophesying.’ Of the last of these it is uncertain whether the miraculous influence showeditself in what we terra a strange and peculiar powerof preaching, an especialgiftfor the purpose of winning men to the side of Christ, or whether it included as well an insight into futurity, the prediction of future events; possibly both these powers were conferredon these ‘twelve.’ We have very little knowledge ofthe gift of speaking with tongues. Notlong after this incident was that famous 14th chapter of the first Corinthian letter
  24. 24. written, which really contains all we know on this mysterious subject (the various questions have been discussedpreviously in an Excursus on the PentecostMiracle ofthe 2d chapter of these ‘Acts’) which St. Paul wrote. The passagein the first Corinthian epistle was written some two years later, or two and a half years at most after this incident. He must, among other instances of the exercise ofthis gift of tongues, have had this specialone in his mind. We can therefore lay down with some certainty the following conclusions respecting the nature of the gift then conferred on these disciples of John the Baptist:— It did not edify any beyond the man who spoke (1 Corinthians 14:4). To be of any service, it needed a speciallygifted interpreter (1 Corinthians 14:5-27). Men did not as a rule understand it, though God did (1 Corinthians 14:2). He who used this gift was to those who listened to him as a barbarian or a foreigner(1 Corinthians 14:11). It was therefore no power of speaking in a language which had not been studied in the ordinary way, but it was clearly an ecstatic utterance of rapturous devotion. There were phenomena certainly attending the first exercise ofthe gift on ‘the Pentecost’morning (Acts 2) which could not have been subsequently repeated;for while at ‘Pentecost’the speakers were understoodin their ecstatic utterances by men of various nationalities, the accountof the 14th chapter of the first Corinthian epistle clearly tells us that all speaking with tongues without an interpreter was utterly unintelligible. This mysterious powerremained, however, but a very little seasonamong men. At a very early date in the history of the Church, it appears to have ceasedaltogether. Copyright Statement These files are public domain. Text Courtesyof BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission. Bibliography
  25. 25. Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Acts 19:6". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/acts-19.html. 1879-90. return to 'Jump List' The Expositor's Greek Testament Acts 19:6. καὶ ἐπιθ. αὐτοῖς τοῦ π. τὰς χ., see above on Acts 8:16.— ἐλάλουν τε γλ. καὶ προεφ.: the imperfects may mean that they began to speak, orthat the exercise ofthe gifts mentioned continued. The two gifts are discussedin 1 Corinthians 12:10; 1 Corinthians 12:14, in an Epistle which was written probably during this stay at Ephesus—no doubt the gifts are specially mentioned because the bestowalof such gifts distinguished Christian Baptism from that of John. McGiffert, p. 286, while admitting the accuracyof the accountas a whole, thinks that its representationis moulded, as in 8, in accordancewith the work of Peterand John in Samaria;so too Hilgenfeld refers the accountto his “authorto Theophilus,” who also, in Acts 8:16, narrates that the baptised Samaritans receivedthe Holy Ghost by the laying on of Peter’s hands. This is in some respects notunlike the older view of Baur, who held that the narrative was introduced to parallel Paul’s dignity and work with that of Peterin Acts 10:44—the first speaking with tongues in 2 is narrated in relation to Jews, the secondin relation to Gentiles, 10, and the third in relation to a kind of middle class, half-believers like the Samaritans! (so Zeller and Schneckenburger). But not only does this require us to identify 2 with 10 and 19, the speaking oftongues at Pentecostwith subsequent bestowalofthe gift, but it seems strange that a narrative should not have been constructedmore free from liability to misconceptionand misinterpretation if the leading purpose of its introduction had been as supposed above. Copyright Statement These files are public domain. Text Courtesyof BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
  26. 26. Bibliography Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Acts 19:6". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/acts-19.html. 1897-1910. return to 'Jump List' George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary Imposed his hands on them, by which imposition of hands, was given the Holy Ghostin the sacramentof confirmation. (Witham) Copyright Statement These files are public domain. Text Courtesyof BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission. Bibliography Haydock, George Leo. "Commentaryon Acts 19:6". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/acts-19.html. 1859. return to 'Jump List' Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible Acts 19:6 "And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied" "Paulhad laid his hands upon them" Again we find spiritual gifts being bestowedthrough the hands of an apostle (Acts 8:17). The very fact that Paul laid his hands upon them after their baptism seems to reinforce the conclusion that when Paul was asking them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit?", he was asking them if they receivedthe miraculous manifestations of the Spirit. In the early church, when the New Testamenthad not yet been written, it would make perfect sense for spiritual gifts to be common among new Christians, for
  27. 27. they immediately needed revelationfrom God on so many topics and subjects. "They spake with tongues, and prophesied""The verbs are imperfect in tense, implying continuous exercise ofthe gifts" (Reese p. 673). We should remember that prophesy (the ability to speak by inspiration) went hand in hand with the gift of tongues. If one was present, then so was the other (1 Corinthians 14:1-3; 26). When the spiritual gifts were truly operational, we never find a congregationjust having the gift of tongues. If a congregation had true tongue speakers (people who could speak miraculously in foreign languages theyhad never studied Acts 2:6-11); then it also had prophets. Copyright Statement These files are public domain. Text Courtesyof BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission. Bibliography Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on Acts 19:6". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/acts-19.html. 1999-2014. return to 'Jump List' E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes the Holy Ghost. Both arts. App-101. on. Greek. epi. App-104. spake. Greek.laleo. App-121. prophesied. See App-189. Copyright Statement These files are public domain.
  28. 28. Text Courtesyof BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission. Bibliography Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Acts 19:6". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/acts-19.html. 1909-1922. return to 'Jump List' Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied - (see the notes at Acts 10:44-46.) Copyright Statement These files are public domain. Text Courtesyof BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission. Bibliography Jamieson, Robert, D.D.;Fausset,A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Acts 19:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/acts- 19.html. 1871-8. return to 'Jump List' Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (6) They spake with tongues, and prophesied.—Better, they were speaking with tongues and prophesying, the verbs implying continuous action. As to the nature and relation of the two gifts, see Notes on Acts 2:4; Acts 10:46. Here all the facts of the case confirm the view which has there been stated. The mere powerof speaking foreignlanguages withoutlearning them, as other men
  29. 29. learn, seems a much less adequate result of the new gift than that which we find in the new enthusiasm and intensity of spiritual joy, of which the gift of tongues was the natural expression. It is not without interest to remember that the discussionofthe two gifts in 1 Corinthians 14, in which the connectionof the “tongues”with jubilant and ecstatic praise is unmistakable (1 Corinthians 14:14-16), was written not very long after this incident, and while the facts must yet have been fresh in St. Paul’s memory. On the “laying on of hands,” which was the “outwardand visible sign” of the “inward and spiritual grace,” see Notes onActs 8:14-18, where the laying-on of hands is followedby a gift of the Holy Ghost. Copyright Statement These files are public domain. Text Courtesyof BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission. Bibliography Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Acts 19:6". "Ellicott's Commentary for EnglishReaders". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/acts-19.html. 1905. return to 'Jump List' Treasuryof Scripture Knowledge And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. laid 6:6; 8:17-19;9:17; 1 Timothy 5:22; 2 Timothy 1:6 the Holy Ghost
  30. 30. 2:4; 10:45,46;13:2; 1 Corinthians 12:8-11,28-30 and prophesied 1 Corinthians 14:1-25 Copyright Statement These files are public domain. Text Courtesyof BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission. Bibliography Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Acts 19:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/acts-19.html. return to 'Jump List' The Bible Study New Testament Paul placed his hands on them. The specialgifts the Spirit gives were only transmitted in this way [through an apostle, or with an apostle present]. Paul lays his hands on them (compare Acts 8:17; Romans 1:11.) They spoke in strange tongues. Languagessound strange to one who does not understand them. This gift: (1) God understood (1 Corinthians 14:2); (2) helped only the speaker(1 Corinthians 14:4); (3) had to be explained to benefit others (1 Corinthians 14:5-27). All Christians have the Spirit living in them (Romans 8:9); but not all Christians receivedthe specialgifts the Spirit gives (1 Corinthians 12:4-7). PRECEPTAUSTIN RESOURCES
  31. 31. Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they beganspeaking with tongues and prophesying KJV Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them - Compare the similar evidence of receptionof the Holy Spirit when (1) the Samaritans believed (read Acts 8:15-17+, especially"Thenthey began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit.") and (2) when the Gentiles in Cornelius' householdbelieved (read Acts 11:15-18+) There were also spiritual results associatedwith Ananias laying his hands on Saul (Paul) at his conversion... So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, “BrotherSaul, the Lord Jesus, who appearedto you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, andhe regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized; (Acts 9:17-18+) Marshallon laid hands upon - It seems more likely that the laying on of hands should be understood as a specialactof fellowship, incorporating the people concernedinto the fellowship of the church. This was necessaryin the case of the Samaritanconverts in chapter8 to make it quite clearthat they were acceptedfully into the Jewishchurch centred on Jerusalem;and it was necessaryin the present instance to make it clearto these members of a semi- Christian group that they were now becoming part of the universal church. The fact that the story demonstrates that Paul had the same authority as Peter and John to convey the gift of the Spirit is probably merely a secondarymotif. The effectof the baptism w as to produce ‘charismatic’ manifestations of the Spirit (Acts 2:4, 17f+.;Acts 10.46+). It is clearfrom the other stories of conversionin Acts that such manifestations took place spasmodicallyand were not the generalrule (Acts 8:17+; Acts 8:39+;Acts 13:52+;Acts 16:34+); in the present case some unusual gift was perhaps needed to convince this
  32. 32. group of ‘semi-Christians’that they were now fully members of Christ’s church. (Tyndale New TestamentCommentaries – Acts) RelatedResources: And they beganspeaking with tongues and prophesying - This was verification that they had receivedthe Holy Spirit. A T Robertsonon prophesying - Inchoative imperfect again, beganto prophesy. The speaking with tongues and prophesying was external and indubitable proof that the Holy Spirit had come on these twelve uninformed disciples now fully won to the service of Jesus as Messiah. Butthis baptism in waterdid not "convey" the Holy Spirit nor forgiveness ofsins. Paul was not a sacramentalist As Kent Hughes says "This was a mini-Pentecost. We see the Pentecost experience four times in the book of Acts: to Jewishbelievers in Jerusalem, to the Samaritans through Philip, to the Gentiles by Peter, and here to dispersed Jews through Paul." (Preaching the Word - Acts) Stanley Toussaint - The subject of tongues in Acts confirms Paul's statement that tongues "are a sign... for unbelievers" (cf.1 Cor. 14:22). The purpose of tongues was to overcome unbelief. It should also be noted that the receptionof the Holy Spirit in Acts does not follow any setpattern. He came into believers before baptism (Acts 10:44), at the time of or after baptism (Acts 8:12-16; 19:6), and by the laying on of apostolic hands (Acts 8:17; 19:6). Yet Paul declared(Ro 8:9) that anyone without the Holy Spirit is not a Christian. Quite obviously the transitional Book ofActs is not to be used as a doctrinal source on how to receive the Holy Spirit (cf. comments on tongues, 1 Cor. 13:8- 14:25). (Bible Knowledge Commentary) SPEAKING IN TONGUES IN THE BOOKOF ACTS Passage Tongues-Speakers
  33. 33. Audience Relatedto Salvation Purpose Acts 2:1-4 The 12 Apostles and others Unsaved Jews After salvation To validate (for Jews)the fulfillment of Joel2 Acts 10:44-47 Gentiles (Cornelius and his household) SavedJews (Peterand others)who doubted God's plan The same time as salvation To validate (for Jews)God's acceptanceofGentiles Acts 19:1-7 About 12 Old Testamentbelievers Jews who needed confirmation of the message The same time as salvation To validate (for Jews)Paul's message Source:Stanley Toussaint - BKC
  34. 34. PastorStevenJ. Cole FlagstaffChristianFellowship123 S. BeaverStreet Flagstaff, Arizona 86001 www.fcfonline.org TESTING TONGUES (Various Scriptures) By Steven J. Cole (From a sermon when I was the pastorof Lake GregoryCommunity Church, Crestline, California, June 15, 1986) © StevenJ. Cole, 1986 Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture Quotations are from the New American Standard Bible © The LockmanFoundation 1 June 15, 1986 Testing Tongues (SelectedScriptures)The summer of 1969 I lived near UCLA in Westwood. In Westwoodvillage that summer a number of smiling, energetic young people would approach you on the streets and ask if you knew about chanting. They would then launch into testimonies of how their lives had been changedby chanting. I remember a wholesome looking girl who told me that she had chanted for a new Corvette and had gottenit. She had been alienatedfrom her parents, but since she startedchanting the relationship had been restored. Some of my friends went to their meetings, which reminded them of Campus Crusade’s “CollegeLife” evangelistic meetings. The room was filled with happy, singing people of all ages who testified how chanting had changedtheir lives. They were members of the Nichiren Shoshu Buddhist sect, and they all chanted a prayer in some foreign language. I tell that story to make the point that we live in a day when experience is seenas the supreme test of reality. “If it’s realfor you, then it’s real.” “If it feels good, do it.” “If I experiencedit with my ownsenses, thenit must be real.” These are some popular
  35. 35. expressions ofour existentialistculture. Truth is seenas relative to a person’s experience. There was no doubt that these people were having a spiritual experience which was greatly affecting their lives. The problem was that their experience was not basedupon the truth of God’s Word, and thus was demonic and dangerous. The Bible claims to be the infallible and absolute guide for how we ought to think and act. It is the final authority and test of reality (Matt. 4:4; John 10:35; 17:17;2 Tim. 3:16-17;2 Pet. 1:20-21). With regard to any experience, the question is not, did I have an experience, but rather, did I have a biblical experience? This is especiallytrue with regard to speaking in tongues. Many are having this experience. The question is, are they having a biblical experience? 2 Speaking in tongues is not strictly a Christian phenomenon. Non-Christian cults such as the Jehovah’s Witnessesand Mormons claim to speak in tongues. Article Sevenof the Mormon Articles of Faith states, “We believe in the gift of tongues, prophecy, revelation, visions, healing, interpretation of tongues, etc.” (James E. Talmage, A Study of the Articles of Faith [Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, 1972], p. 217.)The Encyclopedia Britannica cites many instances oftongues speaking in pagancults. One man reports that in East Africa, many people possessedby demons speak in fluent Swahili or English, although under normal circumstances they do not understand either language. Ecstatic speechis found among the Mohammedans and the Eskimos of Greenland. The Roman poet Virgil (70-19 B.C.)refers to the tongues speaking of the Sibylline priestess on the isle of Delos (these examples cited by JosephDillow, Speaking in Tongues:Seven Crucial Questions [Zondervan, 1975], pp. 172-173). Since atleastsome tongues speaking is not from the Holy Spirit, we need to be carefulto testany experience of tongues by the Scriptures to determine if it is valid. We are told to test the spirits to see whether they are from God (1 John 4:1). Concerning prophetic utterances we are told to examine them carefully and hold fast to that which is good(1 Thess. 5:19-21). Tonguesmust be testedfor validity againstthe biblical criteria. I want to give you some biblical guidelines by which you can testany experience of tongues speaking to tell whether it is of the Lord or not. TESTS FOR BIBLICAL TONGUES:1. Biblical tongues are
  36. 36. foreign languages,not gibberish. I considerthis to be a major point which undermines most current tongues speaking. Since I developedthis last week, I am not going to go into it in depth here. But let me briefly review. First, the tongues in Acts 2 are clearlyforeign languages, notecstatic utterances.Men from various locations, visiting Jerusalemfor the Day of Pentecost, heardthe band of disciples speaking in their own languages,eventhough the speakers had never learned 3 these languages (Acts 2:4, 6, 8, 11). It was not a miracle of hearing, but of speaking. If the tongues in 1 Corinthians are substantially different from the tongues in Acts, then the burden of proof is upon those making that claim. Paul and Luke (the author of Acts) were close friends, both familiar with the tongues at Jerusalemand at Corinth. Yet both use the same Greek words to describe the events, without any explanation of differences. The Greek word used for tongues means foreign languages inevery other New Testamentand Greek Old Testamentoccurrence. The word“interpret” used in connection with tongues means to translate or give the sense of something. Ecstatic utterances do not make sense to anyone. Only language, whichhas structure and grammar, has meaning and thus can be translated. Interpreting tongues as foreign languages fits consistentlywith every occurrence ofthe word in reference to the gift of tongues in the New Testament. So I believe that if tongues are valid, they will be translatable foreign languages, notmeaningless nonsense syllables. It is interesting that 73 percent of those who speak in tongues claim that their tongue is a foreignlanguage (Dillow, p. 178). In his book, They Speak With Other Tongues (Spire Books, 1964, pp. 17-20), John Sherrill tells of Harald Bredesen, a ReformedChurch pastor, speaking in Polishand in ancient Arabic. I have readand heard of other accounts of tongues speakersspeaking in foreignlanguages. However, Dillow (writing in 1975)states thatevery study to that date had failed to turn up a legitimate instance of a foreign language by those who speak in tongues. Dillow spoke in a Sunday Schoolclass Marla and I attended in Dallas. Three of his friends who spoke in tongues allowedhim to tape record them. He played the tape for us. One speaker, we allagreed, sounded like he was speaking in German, another in French, and the third in Chinese. Dillow took the tapes to experts
  37. 37. in these languages and askedif there was any resemblance. The experts replied that there were occasionalsyllables which sounded like words in those languages, but that the tongues speaking was just meaningless gibberish. J. Rodman Williams, a modern charismatic scholar, admits that there are no concrete data (from tape recordings, for example) 4 of tongues being an unlearned foreign language (in EvangelicalDictionaryof Theology[edited by Walter Elwell, Baker, 1984], p. 206). He argues that biblical tongues are neither foreign languages norecstatic utterances.Rather they are what he calls “spiritual” languages.If someone says that he heard a person speaking in his own language, this occurs because the Holy Spirit immediately interpreted what was said. Thus it was not a hearing of but a hearing in one’s own language. The tongues both in Acts and 1 Corinthians were utterances of the Holy Spirit, understoodonly when interpreted by the Holy Spirit (ibid.). He claims that speaking in tongues is not irrational but suprarational utterance. He is not disturbed by linguists who claim that tongues speaking has no observable language structure, for if such were the case, speaking in tongues would not be spiritual but rational speech. He sees tongues speaking as transpsychical, belonging to the realm of the spirit (ibid., p. 207). But Williams is begging the question. His view allows no way to verify any experience of tongues speaking, because the one doing it can say, “It was a ‘spiritual’ utterance, and if you didn’t understand it or thought it sounded like gibberish, you just weren’t in tune with the Holy Spirit.” It doesn’t seem to fit God’s characterand power to have such a crucialmiracle, which served to substantiate the authenticity of the apostles and the gospelmessage, be a totally unverifiable thing that took place in the heads of those present, not in the actuallanguages spoken. Williams calls tongues “the vehicle of communication par excellence betweenman and God ... the language of transcendentprayer and praise” (ibid., p. 206). But if it is “communication” and “language,” itshould have the mark of language, whichis structure. A linguist can readily discern the difference betweenmeaningful communication and nonsense syllables, evenif he doesn’t know the particular language. To call meaningless gibberisha “language” or“spiritual communication” stretches credulity. Furthermore, Williams has to bend the obvious meaning
  38. 38. of the accountin Acts 2:4-11 to saythat the speakersreallyweren’t using translatable foreign languages.As I pointed out last week, a number of verses in 1 Corinthians 13 and 14 also fit better with 5 translatable languages, notecstatic utterances or“spiritual” utterances, as Williams calls them (cf. 13:1; 14:10-11, 21). So the first test of biblical tongues is that it must be translatable foreignlanguages, notgibberish. If Williams is correctin stating that there are no concrete data of an unknown language being spoken, most of the tongues speaking in our day is invalidated. 2. Biblical tongues are not pushed as a necessityfor every believer. This point is so obvious, biblically, that I find it incredible that anyone could disagree. Note 1 Cor. 12:30: “All do not speak with tongues, do they?” The Greek text requires a negative reply. In the context of chapter 12 Paul is arguing that the body is many members, not one member. While we are one body, we all have different gifts, sovereignlybestowedby the Holy Spirit (12:11, 18, 24, 28). One member of the body is not to envy another member: “If they were all one member, where would the body be?” (v. 19). Paul puts the gift of tongues at the end of the list (12:28, 30)to show its relative importance to the body, and then takes all of 14:1-25 to argue that prophecy is more important than tongues, because it builds the body. In spite of this, many charismatics argue that speaking in tongues is for every believer. The way they get around the obvious meaning of 1 Corinthians 12 is to say that not all Christians have the gift of tongues to be exercisedin the church meetings. But all can and should have a “prayer language” foruse in personaldevotions, receivedwhen the believer receives the baptism of the Spirit. There are two matters to sort out here: the baptism of the Spirit, and the so-called“prayerlanguage.” The charismatic movement believes that the baptism of the Spirit is a distinct experience, either at the moment of salvationor subsequent to salvation, when the believeris filled with the presence and power of the Holy Spirit (Williams, ibid., p. 205). Williams writes, “Baptismwith the Holy Spirit is understood to result from ‘the gift of the Holy Spirit,’ wherein the Spirit is freely ‘poured out,’ ‘falls upon,’ ‘comes on,’ ‘anoints,’‘endues’ the believer with ‘power from on high.’ This event/experience is the moment of initiation into the Spirit-filled life” (ibid.).
  39. 39. 6 I believe in the absolute need of every believer for the enabling and powerof the Holy Spirit. I believe in the need for the Spirit’s anointing for us all. But I think that to call that anointing “the baptism of the Spirit” is a misnomer. It is not just a quibbling over words, though, because it is important that we use biblical words as the Bible uses them. Let’s briefly look at how the term “baptism of the Spirit” is used in the Bible. John the Baptist predicted that Jesus would baptize His followers with the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11). Just before His ascension, Jesus toldthe apostles to wait in Jerusalemfor what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; for John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now” (Acts 1:4-5). That baptism took place on the Dayof Pentecost (even though the term is not used in Acts 2). In Acts 8, the Samaritans believed through Philip’s preaching. Peterand John were summoned from Jerusalem. When they arrived, they prayed for them to receive the Holy Spirit. Although the text doesn’tsay so directly, we can safelyassume that they spoke in tongues as the manifestation of receiving the Spirit (Acts 8:17- 18, “saw”). In Acts 10, the Gentiles at Cornelius’s house believe, receive the Holy Spirit immediately, and speak in tongues (10:44-46). In Acts 11:15-17, Peteris giving an accountof this event, and he equates it to the same thing that happened to the Jews on the Day of Pentecost, andties both into Jesus’ words about the baptism of the Spirit. In Acts 19:1-6, Paul comes upon some men who had been baptized with John’s baptism, but had never heard of the Holy Spirit. They were “Old Testament” believers. When Paul told them of the Lord Jesus, theywere baptized in His name, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied. Charismatics use these passagesto argue that the baptism of the Spirit is in some casessubsequent to salvation, and that it is always accompaniedby the sign of speaking in tongues. But I think they are misunderstanding these Scriptures. If these were the only verses in the Bible on the subject, I would have to agree with the charismatic interpretation. But there 7
  40. 40. are some other verses that we must integrate with Acts. In Romans 8:9 Paul states that if you do not have the Spirit dwelling in you, you do not belong to Christ. In 1 Cor. 12:13 he states that we all (including the carnalCorinthians) have been baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ. Furthermore, we are never commanded to be baptized with the Spirit. The filling of the Spirit is commanded as an on-going, repeatedexperience (Eph. 5:18; Acts 2:4; 4:31). But the baptism of the Spirit is not an experience atall. It is a spiritual fact in which the believer both receives the Holy Spirit and is baptized by the Spirit into the body of Christ at the moment of salvation. If you believe in Jesus Christ as Savior, then you have been baptized in, with or by (same Greek word) the Holy Spirit. How then do I explain the Book ofActs? Acts is a transitional book, linking the old dispensationof the law with the new dispensationof the Spirit. In the old dispensation, not all believers received the indwelling Spirit. Those who did receive the Spirit could lose Him (Ps. 51:11;1 Sam. 16:14). But in the new dispensation, all believers receive the Holy Spirit. In Acts 2 we see the Jewishbelievers receiving the Spirit; in Acts 8 the Samaritans;in Acts 10, the Gentiles;and in Acts 19, those awayfrom Palestine, in a pagan city, representing “the uttermost part of the earth.” This is the pattern laid out by our Lord in Acts 1:8. It was necessaryforthe apostles to be presentbecause the keys to the kingdom were given to the apostles through Peter(Matt. 16:18-19). Thus in the case ofthe Samaritans, the Lord did not give them the Spirit at the moment of believing because the apostles were not present. Their authority was required to open the age ofthe Spirit to this new people group. In Acts 10, with Peterpresent, the Gentiles receivedthe Spirit immediately upon believing. In Acts 19, the men were not really believers in the Lord Jesus until Paul spoke to them, at which point they receivedthe Spirit. In eachcase, tongues wasthe authenticating sign of a new group receiving the Spirit. But there is no indication of that sign accompanying any other conversionin Acts (such as the women at Philippi, the believers in Thessalonica,orthe islanders on Malta). Once the Spirit was given to the Jews, the Samaritans, the Gentiles, and to those outside of the Jewishnation (Acts 19), the transition from the old dispensationof God working solelythrough the na 8
  41. 41. tion Israelunder the law to the new dispensation of God working through the church composedofevery tongue and tribe and nation was complete. The authenticating sign of tongues to affirm the transition was no longerneeded as the signof the baptism of the Spirit. Even if we assume that Acts is normative for the baptism of the Spirit and tongues, modern charismatic practice does not conform to it. In Acts, all the believers receivedthe baptism at once, and seemingly all spoke in tongues at once. But Paul forbids the Corinthians to speak all at once (1 Cor. 14:27). Furthermore, exceptfor Acts 2, none of the groups were seeking the baptism or tongues as an experience subsequent to salvation. It was a sovereignactof God. The Bible gives no command (except for the exceptionalevent at Pentecost)for believers to seek the Holy Spirit or the gift of tongues. (Jesus’words in Luke 11:13 were spokenbefore Pentecost.)The other matter which I need to speak to is the so-called“prayer language.” Charismaticsargue that while not every believer has the gift of tongues for public ministry, every believer can and should have a personal prayer language forprivate devotions. This seems to be basedon Paul’s private use of tongues (1 Cor. 14:1819, 28--see lastweek’s message)and on Rom. 8:26: “And in the same way the Spirit helps our weakness;for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” Concerning the private use of tongues, I think we must saythat it is legitimate for those who have the true gift (foreign languages). This personis exhorted to pray for the ability to interpret his tongue, so that he will be benefited even more (1 Cor. 14:13). Concerning Rom. 8:26, it is far from clearthat the verse is referring to tongues. If it is, it is the only verse in Romans to do so, and neither tongues nor spiritual gifts are anywhere in the context. There may be some commentators who take it as tongues, but I could not find any who do so. Also, it is not the personwho is speaking in groanings too deep for words, but the Spirit Himself, interceding before the Father. The word “groanings” means aninarticulate groaning (cf. Rom. 8:22), not a foreign language. To build a whole centraldoctrine of the spiritual life (that every be 9 liever is to have a prayer language)on one unclear verse, especiallywhen the doctrine contradicts the specific, clearteaching of Paul elsewhere that tongues
  42. 42. are a spiritual gift only for a few, seems risky at best. Thus biblical tongues are foreignlanguages, notgibberish; and they are not pushed as a necessary experience for every believer. 3. Biblical tongues are not to be sought as a means to spirituality. The Corinthians spoke in tongues but were carnal and immature. If tongues were a means to spirituality or spiritual growth, somewhere the Bible would command us to seek the gift. But it does not. As I mentioned lastweek, Paul’s wish that all believers spoke in tongues (1 Cor. 14:5) does not contradictwhat he stateda few verses earlier, that all do not speak in tongues (12:30). He is merely expressing a wish because speaking in tongues is a legitimate gift of the Spirit, just as in 7:7 he expresses his wish that all could be single, because that gift enables a person to have more time to serve the Lord. If everybody should seek the gift of tongues, then everybody should seek the gift of celibacy!The Bible does not teachthat spiritual maturity comes through a supernatural experience with the Spirit which instantly transports us to a higher plane of spiritual victory (such as the socalled“baptismof the Spirit”). That notion is very appealing, to be quite frank. But it is not biblical. Neither does the Bible indicate that spiritual growth comes through continued speaking in tongues. How does spiritual growth take place? We are exhorted to walk (not leap, run, or fly) by means of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:16). We are told to discipline ourselves for the purpose of godliness (1 Tim. 4:7-8). There is effort and steadfastness requiredon our part (1 Tim. 4:10,15, 16). It is an on-going, gradual process whichwill not be complete until we meet Jesus Christface to face (Phil. 3:1214). At the same time we are assuredthat we all have been made complete in Christ (Col. 2:10). Every believer has been enriched with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph. 1:3). “His divine power has granted us everything pertaining 10 to life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3). “We were all made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:13). While we need to learn to appropriate all the riches which are ours in Christ Jesus, we do not need to tarry or wait or plead with God for the gift of the Spirit or tongues. It is not a mark of spirituality which we must seek. If God gives it, He gives it sovereignlyto some according to His purpose, for the building up of the church. Many godly saints in the pastwere mightily
  43. 43. used of God but did not speak in tongues:our Lord Himself, John the Baptist, Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, George Whitefield, George Muller, Hudson Taylor, D. L. Moody, and Billy Graham, to name a few. You are not missing one of God’s blessings if you do not speak in tongues. Thus biblical tongues are foreign languages, notgibberish; they are not pushed as a necessaryexperience for every believer; they are not to be soughtas a means to spirituality. 4. Biblical tongues in a church gathering must be in conformity with certain guidelines. Paul spells these out in the passagewe will covernext week, 1 Cor. 14:26-40, so I will only mention them briefly now. While I believe that the tongues speaking in Acts and in 1 Corinthians are both the same phenomenon (foreign languages), there are a number of differences in terms of the practice of the gift which are not observed in our day. If Acts describes the transition to the new dispensationof the Spirit, then 1 Corinthians prescribes the order to be followedduring that dispensation. In other words, 1 Corinthians, written to the church, is the guide for the practice of tongues, not Acts which describes how the gift came to the church. In Acts, the tongues were outside the church; in 1 Corinthians tongues were in the church meeting. In Acts, tongues accompaniedthe initial receiving of the Spirit; in 1 Corinthians, they were subsequent to receiving the Spirit. In Acts, it was a large group all speaking atonce; in 1 Corinthians, it was to be one at a time, by two or three at most. In Acts, there is no interpretation recorded;in 1 Corinthians it must be accompaniedby interpretation. In Acts, it came on everybody in the group in an uncontrollable fashion and seems a bit chaotic; in 1 Corinthians, not all had it, it was control 11 lable, and it was to be done in an orderly manner. In Acts, there is no mention of love or edifying others; in 1 Corinthians, it can be done only if done in love to edify others. Many times when I have been in charismatic churches these guidelines are ignored. Everybody speaksin tongues at once for their own edification, there is no interpretation, and it is not orderly. Obviously these folks were having an experience, but it was not a biblical experience!Also, if tongues are of the Lord, they will not be divisive to the church. When a group of people start pushing tongues on everybody else in disregardof these biblical guidelines, it splits the church. That is not of the Lord, who prayed
  44. 44. that His church may be one, that the world would know that the Fathersent Him. Churches which exclude someone who practices tongues in line with these guidelines are equally divisive. I know of churches where anybody who speaks in tongues is suspectedas being under demonic influence. That excludes the charismatic brother, just as much as those who gatheraround charismatic gifts exclude the non-charismatic brother. The basis of our unity is not to be our view of the gift of tongues, but rather our common Lord (Eph. 4:1-6). ConclusionYou may be wondering: If most speaking in tongues today is not the biblical gift, how do you explain it? Why is God seeminglyblessing charismatic churches? Why do those who practice tongues seemto get such a blessing from it? I’ve heard testimonies of renewedlove for the Lord, new zeal in prayer, new power over sin, all as a result of the “baptism of the Spirit” and tongues. Again, let me emphasize that the Bible must be our testof reality, not experience. If the tongues experiencedin our day are not in line with the biblical gift, they are not valid, no matter what the seeming results. Obviously I cannotdeal with every situation here. But let me offer a few observations. First, God works with imperfect vessels. If He waited for us all to arrive at a point of doctrinal or personalperfection, His work would not get done. Many charismatic brothers and sisters have a 12 sincere love for the Lord Jesus, andHe works with them in spite of their mistakenview of the gift of tongues. Also, many charismatics have a real dependence upon the Holy Spirit, even though their terminology may be incorrect. They call it the baptism of the Spirit; I think that biblically it is the filling of the Spirit. But I would rather have somebodymistaken in his terminology and complete in his yieldedness than correctin his terminology and halfway in his yieldedness. The Pharisees knew the Scriptures, but they lackedreality with God. May that never be said of us! I believe God blesses many charismatic people and churches because they have a fervency for the Lord that non-charismatics have lost. I’d much rather worship in a charismatic church where there is a fervent love for the Lord Jesus than in many noncharismatic churches which have theologicalaccuracybut have lost their first love. In my opinion, most of the tongues speaking in our day is purely psychological. Some rare casesmay be demonic, some rare cases may
  45. 45. be of the Lord. I think there are spiritual dangers in the psychologically explained tongues. Satanloves for us to substitute anything counterfeit in the place of Christ. Many who think that they are praying “in the Spirit” (in tongues)are just babbling gibberish, no matter how happy it makes them feel. There is a realdanger of substituting that kind of purely psychological activity for the discipline of prayer and Bible study which lead to solid spiritual growth. One former charismatic pastor who came to question and then to abandon the gifts of tongues and prophecy, wrote about the process of his struggle, I think I realized (in my heart at least)that my tongues were not a linguistically definable language. And now the argument came to me with renewedforce. No one could listen to me speaking tongues and then marvel that the mighty acts of God were being proclaimed in an understandable language. And so this fact alone was enoughto invalidate the gift for me. I suppose that I could have sidestepped this line of reasoning by taking refuge in the idea that tongues are not necessarilya known language. But even so, I still had to admit that the 13 Scriptures teachthat tongues are a miraculous gift. What happened on the day of Pentecostwas a miracle! ... Therefore, evenif tongues aren’t necessarilya knownlanguage, I still had to ask myself, “Is there any evidence that my tongues speechis of a miraculous nature? Is there any indication that my utterances originatedwith the Holy Spirit and not just my own mind? (Neil Babcox, A Searchfor Charismatic Reality [Multnomah Press, 1985], pp.63-64.)After he came to the conclusionthat his tongues were not of the Holy Spirit, this pastorstill had trouble quitting. Speaking in tongues had seemedlike such an enriching aspectof his personal devotions. He writes, However, I soonbeganto realize that speaking in tongues was not as edifying as I had previously thought. How could it be, since I was uttering words and phrases of my own invention? Therefore, I was beginning to understand that, far from being a deeperdimension of prayer, praying in tongues was an evasion--a failure to grapple with the profundities of prayer (ibid., p. 65). I don’t share any of these things to club anybody who speaks in tongues. It would be a gross misuse of this messageif those of you who do not speak in tongues used it to club those who do. I share it because I believe it is crucial to
  46. 46. base our experiences onthe Word of God. I believe that the church will be strongerand the Lord’s work will go forth in greatestpowerwhenwe order our lives in accordancewith His Word. Most of you who read this may not practice tongues. Don’t getsmug about “having the truth.” Learn from your charismatic brothers to be fervent for the Lord. If you do speak in tongues, I ask you to evaluate your experience by Scripture. Above all, let us all pursue love. 14 DiscussionQuestions 1. Do you agree that it is wrong to divide the church along charismatic lines? How canthis be avoided in a specific situation where both elements are in a church? 2. What would you say to someone who pointed to the obviously goodresults in his spiritual life due to his experience with tongues? 3. Would you rather be in a church that had correctdoctrine on tongues but was restrainedin devotion for the Lord or one which emphasized tongues but was fervent in devotion for the Lord? Why? 4. Discuss:If the Holy Spirit left your life today, how soonwould you discoverthat fact? What about if He left our church? How can we depend on Him more? Copyright 1986, StevenJ. Cole, All Rights Reserved. LEHMAN STRAUSS Speaking in Tongues RelatedMedia Introduction This is not the final chapter to be written on the subject of speaking in tongues. Men (and women)will be having their say until our Lord returns to settle this matter once and for all time. It is difficult to say how, when and
  47. 47. where the modern tongues movement began. In the many pamphlets and books I have examined opinions differ. We do know that the phenomenon of tongues-speaking is widespread, and it is likely that no issue in Christendom has causedas wide a split in its ranks in modern times as has speaking in tongues. All Bible-believing Christians who study the Word of Godare in agreement that the gift of tongues is present in the inspired Scriptures. In the New Testamenttwo lists of gifts appear in which the gift of tongues is included. In 1 Corinthians 12:8-11 “kinds of tongues” and “the interpretation of tongues” are saidto be sovereignlybestowedgifts of the Holy Spirit. In 1 Corinthians 12:28-30 “tongues”appears in the list of gifts. We call them “spiritual gifts” from the Greek wordcharisma, suggesting that the gift is a bestowmentof God’s grace. It is not a natural ability that one might develop, but rather a specialgift as those appearing in the above mentioned passages in First Corinthians. The Holy Spirit is sovereignin the distribution of these gifts. Following the listing of the gifts, Paul adds, “But all these workeththat one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will” (1 Corinthians 12:11). No one personhas all the gifts, nor are we to seek the gifts. We must be careful that we do not confuse the Spirit as a gift to the believer with the gifts the Spirit gives to believers. Every believer has received the gift of the Spirit, but not every believer has receivedthe gifts which the Spirit bestows. The Meaning of Speaking in Tongues In my travels many persons have approachedme with questions about tongues. Some of them ask about its meaning. The term that is used to identify the tongues movement is “glossolalia,” made up of two Greek words, glossa (language or tongue) and lalia (speech). It therefore means speaking in languages ortongues. Glossologyis that department of anthropology which has to do with the study and classificationoflanguages and dialects. The word glossa appears in the Greek New Testament not less than fifty times. It is used to refer to the physical organ of the tongue as in James 3:5; once in reference to the flames of fire shapedlike tongues (Acts 2:3); at least
  48. 48. once in a metaphorical sense whenreferring to speechas in the statement, “my tongue (speech)was glad(joyous)” (Acts 2:26). As far as I understand the remaining usages ofthe word it always means a language. When our Lord predicted the gift of tongues (the only mention of tongues in the four Gospelrecords)He said, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name they shall castout devils; they shall speak with new tongues” (Mark 16:17). The adjective “new” (Gr. kainos)canonly mean they were going to speak in languages new to them, that is, languages they had not learned or used until that time. If I saythe Russianlanguage is “new” to me, I do not mean that I never knew there was sucha language, but rather its use by me is new to me because Ican neither speak it nor understand it when I hear others speak it. On the other hand the German language is not altogether “new” to me because I can both read and speak it with a small degree of understanding. In Acts 2:4 Luke uses a different adjective when he says, “they beganto speak with other tongues.” The word “other” (Gr. heteros)simply means that they spoke in languagesdifferent from the normal language they were used to. The context substantiates this. Notice the surprised reactionon the part of the hearers—“Andthey were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans? And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?” (Acts 2:7,8). Every man heard them speak in his own language (Acts 2:6). Here the word “language”is the translation of dialekto from which our word “dialect” comes. The two words glossa (tongue)and dialektos (language)are used synonymously, making it obvious that the disciples were speaking in known languagesotherthan the language native to them. In verses 9-11 the languages are then identified. It was a miraculous phenomenon which enabled the disciples to speak in languages whichthey had never learned. Here in this Acts passage we have tongues-speaking in its pure and unperverted form as God gave it. The following verses in the Book of the Revelationshould be examined carefully (Revelation5:9; 7:9; 10:11;11:9; 13:7; 14:6; 17:15). In eachpassage where the word “tongue” is mentioned it means one of the languages associatedwith the various nationalities and races. I see no reasonwhy anyone
  49. 49. should raise a question as to the tongues in those passages in Mark, Acts and Revelationmeaning languages. But the more serious problems arise in the interpretation of the twenty-one references to tongues in 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14. There are those who tell us that the tongues in First Corinthians are ecstatic utterances notknown in any country on earth. They base their conclusionon the term “unknown” which appears in 1 Corinthians 14:2, 4, 13, 14, 19, and 27. But the reader of this chapter in God’s Word must not fail to observe that the word “unknown” in every place where it appears is in italicized letters, which means that it does not occurin any Greek manuscript but was inserted by translators. The Holy Spirit did not direct Paul to write that the tongue is unknown. I find no warrant for changing the meaning of tongues in First Corinthians. In every other place where the word is used it means languages. Why then should the meaning be changedin First Corinthians? I know of no textual license that will warrant changing the meaning of the word. All the usages of tongues in Paul’s treatment of the subject refer to foreign languages. “So likewise ye, exceptye utter by the tongue words easyto be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into air” (1 Corinthians 14:9). There is no reasonfor anyone to speak exceptto converse intelligibly. The Greek word laleo means “I speak.” The word is never used for mere sound or noise. Nor is it used for a mere mumbling or muttering of unintelligible gibberish. The tongues-speaking in the New Testamentwas in the native languages ofhearing people. The supernatural phenomenon which took place at Pentecostwas the exercise ofa gift whereby many people from many countries, gatheredat Jerusalem, heard God’s message in their own language. This was indeed a miracle of God. It would be an arbitrary and strange interpretation of Scripture that would make tongues-speaking in the New Testamentanything other than known languages. There is no trace of Scriptural evidence that tongues were ever heard by anyone as incoherent, incomprehensible babbling. The Ministry of Speaking in Tongues
  50. 50. At this point in our study we shall pursue an examination of the reasons why God gave the gift of speaking in tongues. First, to communicate the Gospelmessage. Withunmistakable clarity Paul says, “Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not . . . ” (1 Corinthians 14:22). The word “sign” (Gr. semeion) in the New Testamentis often associatedwith the conveying of a Divinely-given messageto unbelievers. This is the emphasis in John 20:30, 31 where we read, “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence ofHis disciples, which are not written in this book:But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Sonof God; and that believing ye might have life through His name.” The signs (miracles)were never performed without purpose, but because ofthe messagethey communicated. The true function of the gift of tongues is “for a sign . . . to them that believe not.” To exercise the gift when unbelievers were not present would be exercising the gift above the purpose for which it was given. The gifts were never given for the self-satisfactionorself-gloryof the recipients. The one upon whom the gift was bestowedwas merelyan instrument through whom God wanted to communicate His message. Becauseofthe abuse and misuse of tongues in the Corinthian Assembly Paul states its purpose. The spiritual immaturity of the saints in Corinth calledfor instruction, so in the middle of his discourse on tongues he writes, “Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men” (1 Corinthians 14:20). The Greek wordfor “men” (teleios)means mature. In their misuse of speaking in tongues they were showing their immaturity, a behaviour pattern which characterizedthe believers at Corinth. The Apostle reminded them that they remained “babes in Christ” (3:1). Their failure to grow up spiritually resulted from their neglectedstudy of the Scriptures. The Epistle to the Hebrews stressesthis point. “Forwhen for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teachyou againwhich be the first principles of the oracles ofGod; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. Forevery one that useth milk is unskillful in the
  51. 51. word of righteousness;for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reasonof use have their senses exercisedto discernboth goodand evil” (Hebrews 5:12-14). Peterwrote, “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby” (I Peter 2:2). One will find confusion and license where the study of God’s Word is neglected. Now let us return to 1 Corinthians 14:20. Immediately upon rebuking them with the words, “Brethren, be not children in understanding,” Paul adds, “In the law it is written . . . ” (Vs. 21), thereby pointing out their weakness, namely, their failure to acquaint themselves with that which was written in the Old TestamentScriptures. They had failed to study God’s Word, therefore they had become victims of arresteddevelopment. Speaking in tongues was a gift bestowedby the Holy Spirit, but it, or any other gift, can be misused. Speaking in tongues was no mark of spirituality, because the Corinthian church was unspiritual, having manifested carnality (3:1-3) and even gross sin (5:1). And so Paul points them to a Scripture they should have known, saying, “In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hearme, saith the Lord” (12:21). Paul is here referring to a prophecy God had given through Isaiah. The nation of Israel had failed to heed God’s message whichHe gave through their own prophets, so the Lord told them that at a future time they will hear His messagethrough tongues (languages)otherthan their own. “Forwith stammering lips and anothertongue will He speak to this people “ (Isaiah 28:11). Thus Paul sees in this Isaiahprophecy the gift of tongues as a sign to Israel. The words “this people” in Isaiah 28:11, in its context, canrefer only to Israel. The abuse of tongues-speaking in Corinth did not arise from the belief in speaking in tongues, but rather in the neglectof the Scriptures which teach its proper use. This purpose of the gift of tongues, namely to communicate God’s messageto Israel, is verified in the three passagesin Acts where speaking in tongues is mentioned. In Acts 2 tongues-speaking wasusedas a missionary or
  52. 52. evangelistic toolin fulfillment of Isaiah28:11. There was no need for the disciples to learn other languages before they could communicate the Gospel. God overcame the language barrier through the miracle-gift of tongues. On the day of Pentecostthere were “Jews outof every nation under heaven” (Acts 2:5). And when the disciples “beganto speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts 2:4), the hearers respondedwith the question, “And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?” (Acts 2:8). Observe that they were “Jews”from other countries who spoke many languages and dialects, and yet eachheard the Gospelin his own tongue. Isaiah’s prophecy was being fulfilled. In Acts 10:46 the secondmention of speaking in tongues occurs. The occasion againwas to communicate the Gospel, this time for the purpose of effecting the conversionof Cornelius and his house. This event cannotbe totally disassociatedfrom PentecostbecausePeter, whenrelating this experience, said, “And as I beganto speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning” (Acts 11:15). At the house of Cornelius tongues-speaking was a sign to Jews ata time when the Gospelwas being communicated (Acts 10:44- 46). In Acts 19:6 there appears the third passagein Acts in which speaking in tongues is recorded. Again its purpose was missionaryand evangelistic. When Paul came to Ephesus he encounteredtwelve disciples of John the Baptist. He askedthem, “Did you receive the Holy Ghost when (not since)you believed?” (Acts 19:2, see the R.V.). These atEphesus consideredthemselves to be Christians because they had heard through Apollos the messageofJohn. You see, there is a belief unto salvationand a belief that does not result in salvation. The latter is a mere academic, intellectualbelief that even Satan and the demons have (James 2:19. cf. Mark 5:7). Doubtless there are people today who have an historicalfaith in Jesus Christ as a man and even the Son of God, but who have not been saved. Paul suspectedthat such was the case with the disciples of John whom he met at Ephesus. When he learned they were not saved, he told them they must trust Christ for their salvation. We can understand the confusion they might have experienced, therefore some evidential sign was necessary. “And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghostcame upon them; and they spake with tongues, and
  53. 53. prophesied” (Acts 19:6). Again the purpose for speaking in tongues is obvious, namely, to communicate the Gospelmessage. These are the only instances of tongues-speaking recordedin the Bible, except the passage in First Corinthians. None of the later Epistles mention speaking in tongues. The gift was used only in the transitional period betweenLaw and Grace. The sign gifts continued through the period of the Apostles while the New Testamentwas in the process ofbeing written. Second, to confirm the Gospelmessage. It was not merely a communicating sign but a confirmatory sign as well. When the Apostles used the gift of tongues it was because they did not have what you and I have today, the completed Word of God, God’s full and final revelationto man. When they went about preaching the Gospel, their messagewas confirmedby the exercise of the sign gifts. Tongues-speakingvindicated both the message andthe messenger. “Trulythe signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds” (2 Corinthians 12:12). If one could find an Apostle living today who saw the bodily-resurrected Lord Jesus, he would not be exercising the sign gifts because he would have what you and I have, and what Peter, Paul and John did not have, the completed written Word of God. Now that we have the Scriptures we do not need miracles to confirm God’s message. Signs were for the Jews rather than for Gentiles. “Forthe Jews require a sign . . . ” (1 Corinthians 1:22). Repeatedlyit was the Jews who askedfor a sign. “Then certainof the Scribes and of the Pharisees answered, saying, Master, we would see a sign from Thee” (Matthew 12:38). Again, “The Phariseesalso with the Sadducees came,and tempting desired Him that He would shew them a sign from heaven” (Matthew 16 :1). “Thenansweredthe Jews and said unto Him, What sign shewestThouunto us, seeing that Thou doest these things?” (John 2:18). “They saidtherefore unto Him, What signshewestThou then, that we may see and believe Thee? What dost Thou work?” (John 6:30). All these who askedfor a sign were Jews, andtheir insistence upon signs will at last be their sad undoing.
  54. 54. During the Tribulation the Antichrist will appear, “whose coming is after the working of Satan with all powerand signs and lying wonders” (II Thessalonians 2:9), and at that time many Jews will be deceived into receiving the Antichrist as their Messiah. Let us who are Christ’s not be seeking signs as did the unbelieving Jews. We who are the Lord’s have the Holy Scriptures, so let us “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). Whenever the gift of tongues was exercisedJews were present, tongues-speaking being usedeither to communicate the Gospel or else to confirm to the Jews that the Gentiles were worthy of salvation and should therefore have the Gospelalso. Such confirmations are seenin Acts 10:45 and 19:6. “And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen” (Mark 16:20). If anyone denies the messageofGod’s written Word today, there is no other court of appeal. In the days of the Apostles, the New Testamentbeing yet unwritten, the Holy Spirit supported their messageby accompanying it with signs. But after those holy and inspired men completed writing the New Testament, suchconfirmations were no longer necessary. The rich man in Hell askedAbraham to send Lazarus from the dead that he might witness to his five unsaved brothers, hoping that such a sign(or miracle) would lead them to repent. But Abraham replied, “If they hear not Moses andthe prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead” (Luke 16:27-31). The Pentecostalsignushered in a new age before the New Testamentwas written. But if men rejectGod’s inspired Word now, they need not look for any supernatural signs. A significant New Testamentpassage whichadds to the factthat the sign gifts were given to confirm the Gospelmessageis Hebrews 2:3,4:“How shall we escape, ifwe neglectso greatsalvation;which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghostaccording to His own will?” If the Epistle to the Hebrews was written between65 and 70 A.D. it would be obvious that the people to whom
  55. 55. the messagewas “confirmed” with signs and gifts were that generation immediately following our Lord’s death. The MistakesAbout Speaking in Tongues As an introduction to this part of our study, I want you to see Paul’s introduction to the subject of spiritual gifts. And incidentally, this is the only place in the entire Bible where spiritual gifts are discussed. The Apostle writes, “Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant” (1 Corinthians 12:1). In the Authorized Version the word “gifts” is in italicized letters, telling us that it did not appearin any of the Greek manuscripts but was inserted by translators. Paul actuallysaid to the Corinthians, “I don’t want you to be ignorant about pneumatica” (the spirituals), meaning of course the spiritual gifts. Now the Corinthians were not ignorant of the fact of the spiritual gifts, for the Apostle had alreadysaid to them, “Ye come behind in no gift” (1:7). When he said, “I would not have you ignorant”, he was not speaking about their ignorance of the existence of the gifts, but rather about their ignorance of the right exercise ofthe gifts. They were wellinformed as to what the spiritual gifts were, but they were ignorant about the proper use of the gifts, as is evidenced by the mistakes they made in their exercise ofthem. Before Paul launches into a discussionofthe spiritual gifts, he reminds them of how easilythey were led astray. He says, “ye know that ye were gentiles, carried awayunto these dumb idols, even as ye were led” (12:2). In substance he is saying, “Before youtell me about your experience let me remind you of your lack of spirituality (3:1), and therefore your inability to discern between the Holy Spirit and false spirits” (2:15). Becausetheywere carnal, “babes in Christ” (3:1), their exercise ofthe gifts were self-induced by fleshly energy, not by the Holy Spirit. All Christians do not use their gifts properly, so that a Christian’s use of a gift might not be in accordwith the Word of God. Mistakes canbe made by any of us in the exercise ofa gift. (1) It is a mistake to assume that speaking in tongues is synonymous with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It is unscriptural teaching which says that all who are baptized by the Holy Spirit will speak in tongues. The Scriptures state

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