Speaking in Tongues, Pt. 1

Scripture: Acts 2:1-13
The subject of speaking in tongues is familiar to many people. The Bible talks about this subject, but it is important to define just what it means to speak in tongues. What does the Bible say about this topic? Are there deceptions related to speaking in tongues? This talk begins in Acts 2.
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Announcer: It's time now for Bible Talk. Join our hosts Gary Gibbs and John Bradshaw, speakers for the Amazing Facts Ministry as they now open the Bible and discuss themes that affect your life today. Stay tuned because the next 15 minutes will deepen your understanding of God's word.

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John Bradshaw: Hi Friends, and welcome again to Bible Talk where we talk about what the Bible has to say to us today. I'm John Bradshaw and with me again is Gary Gibbs. Hi Gary.

Gary Gibbs: Hi John. Today we have a topic that I believe a lot of our listeners have heard about or encountered at some point in their Christian walk.

John: Today the whole topic or subject of speaking in tongues is a big issue. It crosses denominational boundaries and as you said, it affects many, many lives.

Gary: It really does because I have been to churches where I felt like an outcast if I didn't speak in tongues during that service.

John: Sure, it's expected it in a lot of places. In fact, for some people, it's the mark of Christianity.

Gary: It really is. You haven't been saved or you haven't been baptized in the Holy Spirit until you speak in tongues.

John: Sure, now, let's understand speaking in tongues is certainly very Biblical. It happened in the Bible. It's written about right there. So, as far as speaking in tongues goes, well that's fine. We've got no problem with that.

Gary: Well, I hope not because the Bible does talk about it and that's what this is, Bible Talk.

John: Sure, but I think one thing we want to say, as far as the Bible goes, God will have a right way and then there's often a 100 or more wrong ways. Wrong variations you could call them counterfeits or you could call them miss-understandings. I thing it's important for us to define the correct Biblical speaking in tongues.

Gary: Now wait a minute John. I think I hear you insinuating that some people might not be speaking in tongues in what you say is the correct way. How could that possibly be? Dedicated and sincere Christians not speaking in the correct type of tongues?

John: Well, I wouldn't say that's a negative reflection upon them or their relationship with Jesus Christ. Because there are Heaven bound Christians who love Jesus with all their heart who are confused about a number of things. Were it be what happens when you die, or the nature of Hell fire, or the correct worship day, or whatever the case might be. So, let's not say that because someone might be confused they are not a Christian or less of a Christian. But, it could be that many are confused and I believe the Bible will show us that many people are.

Gary: Isn't the correct type of tongues though what we're really hearing in our churches today and that is it's a prayer language? It's a heavenly language that angels speak. That when I go into that special sanctuary with God, this moment with God the Holy Spirit just flows over my body and out comes this language.

I don't even necessarily understand. But, there might be an interpreter there and it's a special message from God.

John: Interesting enough most of the time when modern tongues are manifested there's no interpreter for a stones throw. There's no one around. But sometimes there is most of the time there isn't. Yeah, you hear that Gary, but I think if this is Bible Talk and we want to be people who follow what the Bible says and we want to know what the Bible says. Let's get in and look at the gift of tongues in action in the Bible.

Let's get in there and define it and be happy with whatever the Biblical definition is.

Gary: That's fine for me and I think that's fine for our listeners. Where would we begin, John to learn about tongues?

John: The best place to begin is in the book of Acts and chapter two of the book of Acts. So, let's start there Gary. Acts chapter two and we'll look together in verse 1. Now, here's what it says. I'm going to read a number of verses here and we'll step our way through this. When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. These are the disciples of Jesus Christ. This is several weeks after his death. Right, is that what's going on?

Gary: Yes it is.

John: OK, they're there. Pentecost has come, this is a feast. Now, if you understand anything about the feasts back then, who came to the feasts and where did they come from?

Gary: Well, it was the Jews. They had certain feasts during the year they had to come to Jerusalem. There were a couple of them and Pentecost was one of them. At this point, the Jews had been dispersed all around the Roman Empire. They came in by droves from all over. Southern Europe and from Asia and they all came to Jerusalem.

John: OK, so that's the setting for this, it's Pentecost. And, suddenly there came a sound from Heaven as of a rushing mighty wind. It filled all their house where they were sitting. Have you ever wondered what that was like? What that sounded like and what was going on there?

Gary: It must have been awesome. Because, as I've read this before, the whole city hears this sound as well and it brings them to that place.

John: Amazing, isn't it? It had to be a profound experience. So, then it says in verse 3. There appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire and it sat upon each of them. So, something supernatural is going on here.

Then verse four says they were all filled with the Holy Ghost. The Holy Spirit of God and they began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Now, a lot of people are going to say hey, that's right. That's just like what happens in church when my brother stands up and I haven't got a clue what he's saying. But, he's babbling about something and that's what was going on back then, right?

Gary: It's a worship service. They're all gathered together in one accord and the Holy Spirit baptizes them.

John: Now, let's understand what was going on. They were speaking with other tongues. This was something given them by the Holy Spirit. Now verse 5. They were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under Heaven. And when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because every man heard them speak in his own. And, I want you to tell me what that next word is.

Gary: In his own language.

John: OK, now these were people that had come from all over the place. They rushed together the disciples were speaking in tongues. But, how is that defined in verse 6?

Gary: There were interpreters there and they were interpreting the tongues into the languages of the people.

John: Now, you know well that the text doesn't say that even though somebody might say it does.

Gary: Sure, that's what happened.

John: What's going on here is they are speaking with tongues. In verse six says they are speaking in the languages of these other people. So, if you want to be Biblical of the way you understand the Bible. By Biblical definition a tongue is a known language. When someone speaks in tongues they're going to be speaking a known language.

Gary: In fact it says here in verse 6, Behold, are not all these which speak Galileans? Now Galileans were not known to be the most educated class of people on the face of the planet at the time.

John: Sure, these fishermen, for the most part, certainly had not been schooled in a bunch of different languages. Verse eight says, How then do we hear every man in our own tongue wherein we were born?

Gary: That's really what they were marveling at, the very fact that these men could speak in a multitude of languages and they name about almost a dozen of them right here in verses nine and 10.

John: Oh, yeah, they say there's Parthians and Medes, and Elamites, and people from Mesopotamia and Cappadocia and all around the place.

Gary: Now, let me ask you a question then, John. If this instance of speaking in tongues is the ability to speak in another language, why is God doing this? What's the purpose?

John: Let's go through that. They'd come to the feast at Pentecost. The Messiah had been crucified in that very city just a few weeks before. The Lord God wanted that these Jews from all around the place would hear tell of the Messiah and his sacrifice on their behalf. But, how were some ignorant fishermen going to communicate to people in Parthian and Mesopotamian and whatever all of these different languages were?

Well, God moved miraculously to give these men the gift of tongues so they could communicate the Gospel to people that otherwise they couldn't get through to.

Gary: So, today if we want to share the Gospel, we get on radio. We send signals up by airwaves to satellite and it bounces around the globe. We get the message all around the globe that way. So, what happened here is God took this opportune moment when all these people were gathered at Jerusalem to share the Gospel in their own language. They then went home and took the Gospel and it rapidly spread from there.

John: Absolutely. In Verse 11 it says, "We do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God." Now listen, all the way through a tongue is a language. A language is a tongue. Now, let's give a modern day example because the gift of tongues can be manifested today. There's no doubt about that.

Gary: Let me stop you there. There's no doubt about the fact that the gift of tongues can be manifested today?

John: Oh, no doubt about it.

Gary: I've heard some preachers say the gift of tongues was only for the early Christian church and we don't have that gift today.

John: Man, that's like saying the Holy Spirit was only for the early Christian church and we don't have the Holy Spirit today because the gift of tongues is a gift of the Holy Spirit. As you read through the lists of the gifts you see that all of those gifts are extant and needed in the church today. It would work like this. Gary, let's say that I was preaching in a church and a bus load of tourists pulled up outside that church. Let's say they were from Japan and they didn't speak any English.

Gary: All right.

John: The bus driver says OK, we're going to give you the all American experience. I want you to come to church today and hear some preaching. Now they're going to file into the church. If they don't know English they're not going to understand a word I'm saying. Man, beyond Toyota and konnichiwa I don't know any Japanese.

Gary: Honda.

John: That's it. You're not going to preach much of a sermon saying Toyota, Honda, Tokyo, Kawasaki. My Japanese is not there. God might then choose to move upon me and give me the gift of tongues, which would be the miraculous ability to speak this language of Japanese for the purpose of communicating the Gospel to people who do not personally know Jesus Christ.

That would be the gift of tongues operating today. And, often this still happens today.

Gary: So you've heard of stories where this has actually happened?

John: Oh, absolutely. Where people have been given the miraculous ability to communicate with others in a language they have never learned, never studied, don't know, for the purpose of sharing and spreading the Gospel of our Lord, Jesus Christ.

Gary: Well, I would like that gift. I'd love to be able to speak another language. That would be wonderful. But, John that's Acts chapter 2. I'm sure that in other parts of the Bible the gift of tongues manifests itself differently where instead of an earthly language we're given the heavenly language of angels.

John: Listen, let me tell you something. You hear a lot about the gift of tongues and how everyone's got to have it and all the churches need it and all of that. But, you realize that this gift was only manifested in the Bible three times.

Gary: Only three times?

John: Only three times do you read about the gift of tongues taking place. One is in Acts 2. You read about it again in Acts chapter 10. I'll look at verse 44. "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all of them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believe were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because then on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. They heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God."

Gary: So this is similar to what we read in Acts two except instead of being poured out on the Jewish believers, the Apostles, now God's giving the gift of tongues to the Gentiles.

John: Yeah, that's appropriate and one of the reasons this was manifested is the Jews could then not deny that God was with and was blessing the Gentiles. But, notice what this gift of tongues was. Chapter 11, verse 15. We're hearing an account of this and he says, "As I begin to speak, the Holy Ghost began to fell on them as on us at the beginning." So he's saying what happened to them when they received the Holy Ghost is like what happened to us when we received the Holy Ghost. They spoke in tongues, we spoke in tongues. We spoke in known languages. That's what they did, too.

Gary: Well, that's really clear to me. In those two instances it has to be a known language.

John: It is clear and I thank God that it's clear. [music]

John: And friend, the Holy Spirit is a great gift and we need as much of the Holy Spirit as God could possibly give us.

Gary: We do, John, but there are still some other questions I want to ask you on this, because there are other texts on tongues.

John: Well, we'll address those questions next time. Thanks for being here today, friend. Look out for us again here for more next time on Bible Talk. [music out]

John: If you'd like more information on what we've been studying today, we have a comprehensive Bible Study Guide we'd love to share with you that's absolutely free. This study includes many of the texts we've just discussed and expands on the subject including information you'll want to know. To receive this free, informative Bible study guide simply call, write or email and ask for BT128, "Speaking in Tongues." The toll free number is 866-BibleSays. That's 866-242-5372. You can write to us at Bible Talk, P.O. Box 1058, Roseville, California 95678 or email us at bibletalk@amazingfacts.org. Bible Talk has been produced in association with Amazing Facts in the studios of Life Talk Radio.

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