The Gift of Speaking in Tongues
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Praying and Speaking in Tounges

the Biblical Truth of
Speaking in Tongues

Keep in mind, a “cultis a pagan teaching masked in Christianity. Some would raise their eyebrows at the Charismatic movement being considered a “cult.” However, as has already been discussed, the modern speaking in tongues is a pagan practice that has masked itself and passed itself off as “Christian.” A study of history, and a study of Bible, proves that it is cultish, not Christian.

In this section we will give biblical answers to the Charismatic movement, the modern tongues movement. The Charismatic movement is also called the “glossalalia” movement; that is a word that refers to the movement that “speaks in tongues.” The root word “glossa,” is the word translated “tongues” in the Bible.

1. The Greek word for “Tongues” all the way through the New Testament is the word “Glossa.”

In OLD GREEK, KIONE GREEK (the language of the New Testament), CLASICAL GREEK, and MODERN GREEK, the word “glossa” has always meant “languages” - known, civilized languages. It has never meant some kind of jibber-jabber that none can understand except by a miraculous gift.

The word “glossa” always means either (1) the physical appendage we call the “tongue,” or (2) a “known civilized language.” What right does someone have, because they have had an experience, to come along and change the meaning in the Bible word to justify their experience? That is dishonest. It is always wrong to change the Bible to fit our experience; we should change the interpretation of our experience to fit the Bible.

2. The Word “Unknown” Found Before “Tongues” in the New Testament is Always in Italics.

When you find a word in Italics, it means that it was supplied by the translator. It is not wrong to put it there; it is supplied for better understanding of the correct meaning of the language, and for smooth reading in the English.

The vast majority of Charismatic Preachers use the King James Bible because it is the only major English version that retains the word “unknown” in front of the word “tongues,” and they use that to try to promote their doctrine.

(When the King James translators inserted a word they italicized it to let you know. They were honest about it. However, in modern English versions, when they insert a word they did not italicize it; they were deceitful, letting you think is in the original when it is not.)

After all, foreign languages are “unknown tongues” are they not? If I go to your house and you speak Chinese, it will certainly be an unknown tongue. You will not understand a word that I say: ”unknown tongue.” If I never studied that language, I will be speaking a language that even I do not know; thus, the miraculous gift of “ tongues”( languages). That is what happened on the Day of Pentecost, studied later.


3. The First Experience of “Tongues in the New Testament as a Miraculous Gift in Acts Chapter Two.

The “Law of First Mention” says that the first time a doctrine is mentioned in the Bible, there is enough information to explain that doctrine in that first mention. Every subsequent mention of that doctrine simply complements that first mention.

After Jesus had arisen form the dead, spent forty days with the apostles and disciples, then ascended form the Mount of Olives, the disciples (named in 1:13) were in a room with other followers of Christ (120 altogether). They prayed for ten days and ten nights. At the end of that ten days, the Day on Pentecost came; on that day Jews would gather from all over the civilized world. These foreign Jews did not all speak the same language; they had picked up the languages of those parts of the world in which they lived. (Alexander the Great had scattered the Jews all over that part of the world before the coming of Christ. Now, they grew up in those countries and understood those languages.)

On the Day of Pentecost, they converged on Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost. Pentecost was the day when the Jews gathered to thank GOD for the harvest.

Acts 2:1 says, “When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.”

Verse 2 continues, “and suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a mighty rushing wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting, And there appeared unto them cloven (divided) tongues like as fire, and it sat upon each of them.” Each one of the 120 had an appearance of a “tongue” on their head.

Verse 4 says, “And they were filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” “Other” refers to “other” than there own. They did not know these languages, yet they were speaking in them.

Verse 5 continues, “And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language (glossa). And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans? (from Galilee) And how hear we every man in our own tongue (glossa), wherein we were born?”

Then the writer names the known, civilized languages that were spoken on that day, in verses 9-11 “ 9Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

Thus, the known, civilized languages(“tongues”) that were spoken on that day are listed. This was not some kind of :unknown Tongue” that no one could understand except by divine miracle.

What about the tongues of other passages? Is that the same as on the Day of Pentecost, known languages, or is it different in Acts 10, 19 and in 1 Corinthians? The obvious answer is: why would the word “glossa” mean anything different in those passages than it means everywhere else it is used? Why change the meaning of the word just because it is found in another passage?

4. The Tongues Experiences in the New Testament were Limited to a very Few People.

Charismatics will tell you that every time someone in the New Testament was filled with the Spirit they had evidence of speaking in tongues. However, that is not true, In Acts 4 they were filled with the Spirit, but there is no record of their speaking in tongues. In Acts 6 the deacons were filled the Holy Ghost, but there is no record of their speaking in tongues. In Acts 9:17 Saul of Tarsus was “filled with the Holy Ghost,” but there is no record of his speaking in tongues.

There are only 3 times in the entire book of Acts when someone spoke in “tongues” (glossa). The 1st is in Acts chapter 2; we have already studied that. By the way, the 3000 that got saved and baptized did not speak in tongues; only the 120 did.

The 2nd time “tongues” is seen as a miraculous gift is in Acts 10, and it is only one family speaking in “tongues.” It is given there to authenticate the salvation of Gentiles; Cornelius and his family were Gentiles. Plus, it does not say anything there about a miraculous gift. It simply says that they spoke in different languages; remember, they were living in a multi-cultural and multi-lingual society. The last time speaking in tongues is found as a miracle is in Acts 19:1-7. In that case there are only 12 men that spoke in a foreign language. Also, in this passage it does not indicate the presence of any miraculous gift. It simply says that they “spake with tongues (Languages)….” They preached in foreign languages; no mention of a miraculous gift.

Thus, to say that everyone who was ever filled with the spirit spoke miraculous “tongues” is hogwash. The best way to shut the mouth of the cultist is to hand them a Bible and say, “Show Me.” Tongues experiences in the New Testament were limited to a very few People.

5 Mark 16:14-20

The Charismatic and Pentecostals often use this verse to try to substantiate their use of “tongues and Miracles.” what does it say, and what is it about?

Mark chapter 16 is the 2nd instance in the New Testament of Jesus giving the Great Commission.

Mark 16:14-20 says “14 Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen.

15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned…”

Notice that the condition of salvation is “believe” - “he that believeth not shall be damned.”

Read on, “17And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

18They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

19So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.

20And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.”

Remember, Jesus is talking to the apostles, “the 11.” This is not instruction necessarily to the local church; it was directly addressed to the 11 apostles whom Jesus chose ( minus Judas Iscariot).

There are 5 gifts predicted:

(1) They would cast out devils

(2) They would speak in new tongues.

(3) if they pick up a snake and it bites them, they won’t die ( which happened to Paul.)

(4) If they drink any poison they will not be hurt.

(5) They would have the power to lay hands on the sick and heal the,.

There are five gifts predicted here, but the Charismatics only claim 2 of them. They use this passage to substantiate their “ministry,” but they divide it up and only claim 2/5 of it: healing and tongues.

According to verses 19 and 20, these gifts were only to authenticate the authority of the apostles. It says, “And they (the eleven) went forth and preached everywhere, the Lord WORKING WITH THEM and CONFIRMING THE WORD WITH SIGNS FOLLOWING” (verse 20).

Today, we don’t need a confirmation of our word; the written Word of God is our confirmation. Since the Scriptures are complete, and the apostolic age is over, the Scriptures are the only confirmation needed. When I preach I don’t have to stand up and drink poison, talk in tongues, heal the sick, etc., to confirm the authority of what I say. The Bible is the Conformation of my word. All I have to do is say, “Thus saith the Lord….”

The apostles, however, did not have that; they did not have written copies of the completed Word of GOD. They had a few hand written copies of the Old Testament, but very few of them. Not many people had any of the written Word of God in their possession. Thus, the signs following the apostles were given to confirm their word,

6. “Tongues’ (Glossa) in 1 Corinthians 12-14

Paul wrote 13 of the New Testament Epistles (Romans through Philemon). Every one of his epistles was written either to a local church, or to the pastor of a local church. Out of all his writings, the ONLY one in which he even mentions Tongues is the letter to the Corinthians. Tongues is never mentioned to any other church. Corinthians, by the way, is the church that he wrote to in order rebuke immorality, division, suing on another, misuse of the Lords Supper, etc. - Paul wrote 1 Corinthians to rebuke them also for MISUSING the Gift of TONGUES.

1st Corinthians chapter12-14, keeps in mind that every time the word “tongues” is used it is a translation of the Greek word, “glossa” meaning “known civilized language.” Never does “glossa” mean nor has it ever meant, a heavenly jibberish that no one can understand except by divine interpretation. That word is found 4 times in chapter 12, 2 times in chapter 13, and 16 times in chapter 14 - and Paul is dealing with the misuse of tongues.

When the New Testament uses the word “tongues” it is a reference to a mere foreign language. If, However, it mentions a miraculous gift of “tongues.” as at Pentecost, it is the God-given ability to present to speak an unlearned foreign language for the purpose of preaching the Gospel to unsaved people present who could not understand the home language of the one doing the preaching.

The Gift of foreign languages was given for the sake of unbelievers; it was not given for believers. It is a sign to them to confirm the word of the apostles.

7. The Biblical Gift of Tongues Ceased when the Bible was Completed

Keeping in mind that chapters 12-14 of 1st Corinthians is all about the spiritual gifts, read 1st Corinthians. 13:8-13. “Charity never faileth; but whether there be prophecies (the GIFT of Prophecy), they shall fail; whether there be tongues (the Gift of Tongues),they shall cease; whether there be knowledge (the gift of Knowledge, knowledge gained by a “gift,” not by study or experience), it shall vanish away” Thus, God said that there would come a time when some spiritual gifts would “fail,…. cease,….vanish away.”

Read on “for we know in part, and we prophesy in part.” Paul, and others in his day, only knew spiritual truths “in Part.” They could only “prophesy” (preach) the “part” that they had revealed to them, for they did not have the entire Word of GOD.

Continue, “But when THAT WHICH IS PERFECT is come….” What is that which is perfect? It is evidently not referring to Christ in His 2nd coming, for He is not “that which;” He is a “He who.” “That which” is in the neuter gender, meaning neither masculine nor feminine. Christ is Masculine; He would be not referred to as “that which,” only as “He who.”

The only neuter gender thing that is “perfect” is the Word of God. “The law of the Lord is perfect,” said the psalmist in Psalms 19:7. Paul said, “When that which is Perfect (the Word of God) is come (when the Word of God is complete - that occurred in about AD 100), then that which is in part ( the gifts mentioned above) shall be done away.”

Then, in verse 11 the apostle gives an illustration to show that the knowledge and experience that they had prior to the completion of the Word of God is incomplete. He said, “when I was a child I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” There are some things that characterize spiritual immaturity, and reliance on visible miracles and miraculous gifts is one of them. These things were to be “put away” when the Word of God was complete.

Verse 12 continues, “For now (in Paul’s day) we see through a glass, darkly (Paul’s vision of spiritual things was incomplete) face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest is charity.”

It is clear form this passage that the miraculous gifts, particularly the gifts of ”prophesy…tongues….knowledge,” would “cease, pass away, vanish” when the Word of God was completed. The entire canon of Scripture was completed in about AD 100. Since then, there has not been one recorded instance of “speaking in tongues” anywhere in church history. (It seems that if God said something would vanish when the Word of God is complete, and “tongues” of the New Testament has not been seen on the earth in any movement from AD 100 until AD 2000 - “tongues” ceased)

Thus, not only is tongues a temporary gift that has “vanished away.” The “tongues” of today does not even resemble the gift of tongues in the Bible.

When people ask, “When did the gift of tongues cease, I usually tell them, “that is the wrong question. It is not, “When did tongues cease,” It is, ‘Does the tongues of today resemble the tongues of the Bible???’ And the obvious answer is “NO. It is not even a good counterfeit.” The “tongues” of the Bible (miraculous gift of being able to speak foreign languages in order to preach the Gospel to foreigners) ceased, according to Paul, in about AD 100.

 By Dr. Andrew Tully

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Gift of Speaking and Praying in Toungues