What does the Bible say about speaking in tongues? – Part 2

Before I start this installment, I want to take a moment to clear some things up. These articles are a series of articles that I am putting together outlining the information that I have found in a pamphlet that was provided to me by Pastor G for this study. It is called The Gift of Tongues and is written by Ernest Pickering. I felt that this information could be very helpful to folks regarding sound doctrine in these last days.

It is also important to note that this article may not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Gospel Light in whole, but Gospel Light definitely agrees that speaking in tongues is not for our present age. Another thing to note is that Gospel Light does not believe that we need to refer to the Greek to get a fuller meaning. The only point of putting the Greek in this article was because that is what the tongues supporters go to in order to prove there point. However, we believe wholeheartedly that you can use the authorized King James Version to show that speaking in tongues is not for today.

Here goes Part 2:

What is the gift of tongues?

There are three different views on this:

1)      All tongues are ecstatic, unintelligible speech

2)      “tongues” in the book of Acts were human languages, but the “tongues” of 1 Corinthians were heavenly languages or unknown ecstatic utterances.

3)      That ALL references to “tongues” in the New Testament refer to human languages.

We believe the last position to be the correct one. Most modern tongue advocates hold to the second position.

Tongues Were Languages

After review of the Greek word for tongue – glossa, there is no evidence that it is used to mean ecstatic unintelligible speech.

Glossa means “language,” that is always referring to foreign languages. Therefore, it cannot refer to both foreign languages and unknown ecstatic utterances as modern tongue advocates claim.

Acts 2:4- “every man heard them speak in his own language.”

Acts 2:8- “How hear we every man in our own tongue wherein we were born?”

The same thing happened with Cornelius and his household (Acts 10:44-48) as took place at Pentecost. Acts 11:15 – Basically, if the tongues spoken at Pentecost were human languages, so were these. Acts 19:6 – Same thing.

Not Ecstatic Utterances

Large numbers of Pentecostalists hold that there is a difference between the tongues mentioned in Acts and those described in 1 Corinthians. Here are some arguments refuting this position.

1)      There is no sound reason for adopting this position. To ascribe two different meanings to the same word (glossa, tongue) without any definite support of such is questionable.

2)      The thought that the word “interpret” used in 1 Corinthians means to interpret some unintelligible language is false. It is talking about interpreting an actual human language.

3)      The term “beside ourselves” (2Cor. 5:13) is taken by some to mean that Paul and the Corinthians were speaking in tongues and appeared to be irrational. The phrase really has no connection with speaking in tongues.

4)      In both 1 Cor. 14 & 28 the reference to “speaking to God” is held by some to refer to a means of addressing God which is unintelligible. These verses don’t actually speak to the nature of the speech, but only the direction of it, i.e. to God.

5)      The fact that an interpreter was required at Corinth but none was required at Pentecost is seen by some as evidence of the fact that the Corinthians were speaking unknown” languages. However, no interpreter was needed at Pentecost because all of the people there could understand in their own languages. In Corinth, most of the members were from the community and would not have been familiar with foreign languages. Hence, they were in need of interpretation.

6)      The reference Paul made to the “tongues of angels” (1 Cor. 13:1) does not imply that people with the gift of tongues speak in “angelic” tongues unknown on earth. Paul was not saying that he or anyone else spoke in angelic languages. He is saying, “Supposing I had all the powers of earthly and heavenly utterance, and had not love…”

7)      1 Cor. 14:7-9 does not support the idea that Christians spoke unintelligible sounds. Speech that cannot be understood has no value.

8)      1 Cor. 14:23 – Paul’s statement that unbelievers visiting the church assembly might think the believers “mad” doesn’t imply that they were speaking ecstatically. Paul was concerned that when unbelievers heard church members speaking in earthly languages which they did not understand, and which were not being translated, they would think the speakers were mad.

9)      The Greek word dialektos is used in Acts 2:8 but not in 1 Cor. 12-14. This does not prove that the nature of the tongues was any different. The words dialektos and glossa are synonyms. The word tongue nowhere referred to ecstatic speech. All languages of the world, even the most primitive, have some grammar, syntax, and word structure.

I am really learning a lot here. I hope you are too! Have a great day and we will see you on Sunday Lord willing.