The topic of speaking in tongues remains one of the most controversial subjects today. For years people have been debating about the idea of speaking in tongues. In part 1 of this article, we will address the question: what does the Bible say about speaking in tongues?
Speaking in Tongues
The miraculous power of the Holy Spirit empowered the apostles to perform great and mighty works. One of the most amazing works of the Holy Spirit was the speaking of “tongues” by the apostles (Acts 2:1 – 11). “And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance” (Acts 2:4, NASB).
On the day of Pentecost, the apostles were given this gift by the Holy Spirit to communicate the gospel of God to the surrounding nations present. What a miracle! These men were filled with the Spirit, and they were given the ability to speak to the crowds that came together in their native tongue.
What Does the Bible Say About Speaking in Tongues?
In Acts 2:4, it mentions “to speak with other tongues.” What does that mean? The answer is revealed in the following verses: “And when this sound occurred the crowed came together and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language” (Acts 2:6). Fifteen nations were present, and they asked, “And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?” (Acts 2:8). From these two passages, speaking in tongues were actual languages that could be interpreted. When the apostles spoke in “tongues” it was not a jabber, jargon, or a conglomeration of gibberish. It was real human languages being heard by the people who were present.
Benson’s Commentary states:
. . . these disciples had not only never learned any of these languages, but had not learned any foreign tongue . . . Most of them had never so much as heard any of these languages spoken, or had any idea of them . . . They did not speak now and then a word of another tongue, or stammer out some broken sentences, but properly, and elegantly, as if it had been their own mother tongue: for whatever was produced by miracles was best of the kind (p. 687).
For the Holy Spirit to enable the apostles to speak in tongues is quite astonishing because the multitude was awestruck that they could hear them in their own language, speaking of the mighty deeds of God (Acts 2:11). Can this be done today? Stay on the lookout for the next article.