Bible Tongues

There are too many people in the world today who are more inclined to follow the "majority view" over and above the truth of God's Word. Surely if the majority of people believe something to be right, then it must be right, yes? No. All throughout the Bible we see that it was normally the majority that were in the wrong, and it was only the "few" that followed God's truth. And this is the case for speaking in tongues. The majority of Christians believe that speaking in ecstatic tongues, or what we like to call gibberish, is actual Bible tongues that the apostles spoke in. But in this study, we will show you from the Word of God that this majority view of tongues today is wrong.

Let's start off in the Old Testament so that we can get a "WHOLE" picture of what the Bible teaches us about speaking in tongues. What does the word " tongues" mean in the Old Testament?

Genesis 10:5 .....'By these were the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands; every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.'

Deuteronomy 28:49 .....'The LORD shall bring a nation against thee from far, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flieth; a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand .'

The above Bible verse in Deuteronomy is an interesting one. This nation that God would bring against Israel, would it be a nation speaking in the kind of ecstatic tongues we hear today? Of course not. As we know, God scattered the language (tongue) of the people after the tower of Babel, and this other nation that God is speaking about above would basically be speaking in a LANGUAGE that the Israelites would not understand.

Ezra 4:7 .....'And in the days of Artaxerxes wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest of their companions, unto Artaxerxes king of Persia; and the writing of the letter was written in the Syrian tongue, and interpreted in the Syrian tongue.'

Daniel 1:4 .....'Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans .'

It is plain to see that tongues in the Old Testament basically means the language of the nation. Just like today we have the English tongue, the French tongue, the Chinese tongue, and so on. So carrying this forward into the New Testament from the Old Testament, what do you think the gift of speaking in tongues would mean?

Acts 21:40 .....'And when he had given him licence, Paul stood on the stairs, and beckoned with the hand unto the people. And when there was made a great silence, he spake unto them in the Hebrew tongue .'

Revelation 7:9 .....'After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands.'

So does it not simply mean that God would give some people the gift of speaking in the language of another nation to further the gospel message? Well, let's take a deeper look at speaking in tongues in the New Testament.

Speaking in Tongues in the New Testament

The gift of speaking in tongues has a strong connection with the spreading of the gospel message of Christ Jesus. So keep that in mind as we go through the different Bible verses concering tongues in the New Testament. From the following Bible verse we can see the connection with tongues and the gospel message.

Mark 16:15-17 .....'And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues .'

Do you see the clear connection? To be able to take the gospel message to all the other nations around the world, what gift would Jesus' disciples need for this to be achieved? The gift of speaking in the languages of other nations, and this is what Jesus means in the above Bible verse. His disciples would receive power from the Holy Spirit and speak in new tongues (world languages).

So in Luke 24:49 we find Jesus telling the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for power from on high, and we find the fulfillment of this on the day of pentecost:

Acts 2:1-4 .....'And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.'

Now from what we have read so far, what do you think these tongues were that the disciples were speaking in? Were they ecstatic tongues that no one else could understand? Or were they simply speaking in different languages of the world? If we read on in Acts 2 we will find the answer:

Acts 2:5-11 .....'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. And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans? And how hear we every man in OUR OWN tongue, wherein we were born? Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in OUR tongues the wonderful works of God.'

Do you see the clear Bible truth here? This is what we proclaim in this website, CLEAR Bible truth. We cannot just take a verse and build a doctrine on it, we MUST use the WHOLE council of God right throughout the Bible to build a true picture. The tongues that the disciples were speaking were the languages of the different people present, not some ecstatic utterance that many Christians would like to believe.

There is another incident with speaking in tongues recorded in Acts, after the day of pentecost. Let's take a look at what happened:

Acts 10:44-46 .....'While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God.'

Now the Jews present heard the Gentiles magnify God. So what tongues were the Gentiles speaking in? They were speakin in the LANGUAGE of the Jews present at that time, because as the Bible verses says, the Jews HEARD them speak and magnify God. So the Jews UNDERSTOOD what the Gentiles were saying because the Gentiles were given the gift of speaking in the Jews language. Now when Peter went back to Judea, he told the people of the event and he confirms that the tongues the Gentiles received were the same kind of tongues as at the day of pentecost, ie., speaking in other languages.

Acts 11:15-17 .....'And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.'

Do you see the truth here? Peter confirms that the gift these Gentiles received was the same gift that the disciples received at the day of pentecost. And what gift was that? The gift of speaking in different world languages. This is the gift of speaking in tongues, to be able to speak another language, NOT some babble (ecstatic tongues) that has no place in world languages.

The apostle Paul is well known for being able to speak in many different languages, and he confirmed this in 1 Corinthians 14:18. But notice what he says he was able to do .... "I thank my God I speak with MORE tongues than you all". So Paul tells us himself that speaking in tongues is speaking languages of the world, NOT ecstatic utterances. And what was the purpose of the gift of tongues?

1 Corinthians 14:22 .....'Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, BUT TO THEM THAT BELIEVE NOT: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.'

Do you see this clear Bible truth about speaking in tongues? I hope so! God has given the gift of speaking in tongues (languages) for a sign for those who don't believe. Now you tell me this; the above verse and the great commission verse from Jesus confirms that speaking in tongues is for the mission field, to spread the gospel message and to reach out to various nations and languages. So why is it that this gibberish that many call tongues today is normally kept behind closed doors?? Also, say a mission team went to another country that spoke a different language and they started preaching and speaking in ecstatic tongues. What would those listening think? They would probably think that these preachers were just crazy! But yet if another mission team went out and God gave them the gift of speaking in TRUE BIBLE tongues and those listening heard what they were saying in their OWN language, then that would be a sign to them and they would understand what was being said and God would be glorified. Friend, this is the Bible truth.

Tongues of Angels

Now this is a favorite for those who speak in this gibberish today. They claim they are speaking some sort of heavenly language of angles, and use what Paul says in 1 Cornithians 13 to support it. Now PLEASE KEEP IN MIND what Paul said above in 1 Corinthians 14, that tongues are for a sign to those who don't believe, and that speaking in gibberish cannot be a sign to non believers because they just sound crazy! Let's take a look at this verse about tongues of angels.

1 Corinthians 13:1 .....'Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.'

Again, like many doctrines that are built today, this doctrine of ecstatic tongues is based upon one or two verses and the WHOLE council of God is not taken into consideration. We need to read this verse in context to be able to fully understand what Paul was getting at.

1 Corinthians 13:1 .....'Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.'

Now this becomes more clear as to what Paul was saying. Has any man or woman that has ever lived (except Jesus) understood ALL things? Has anyone that has ever lived had ALL knowledge? Has anyone that has ever lived had ALL faith? No, of course not. What Paul was getting at was, even IF (that word "though" should be IF), even IF you could speak with all languages of the earth and heaven. Even IF you had all understanding. Even IF you had all knowledge. Even IF you had all faith, but did not have love, you would have NOTHING! Do you see this? Paul isn't saying that we CAN speak with heavenly languages, or have all understanding, and knowledge and faith, because we can't. He's just saying that EVEN IF we had all these things, but didn't have love, they would mean nothing. The focus with these verses is love, nothing more!

Let's translate this into a more easy to understand worldly way. If we could fly like superman, but did not show love, then being like superman would count for nothing. Now does this mean we CAN fly like superman? Of course not. Paul was just making an illustration as to the importance of love in our Christian walk. And by the way, what language (tongue) did the angels speak when they spoke to men throughout the Bible? Did they speak in some ecstatic gibberish? No, they spoke in the language of the particular person they were speaking to.

1 Corinthians 14:2,9,13,14 .....'For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries. So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret. For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.'

What about these Bible verses? They must be talking about speaking in this ecstatic tongue right? Wrong. Let's put this situation into real life. Say a Chinese person came into an English speaking church to worship God, and this Chinese person could speak no English. Now say this Chinese person started proclaiming and worshipping aloud in Chinese. What would that be to the rest of the English congregation? It would be an UNKNOWN TONGUE. And if there was no-one in that church who had the gift of interpretation, or the Chinese person could not interpret, who would that person be speaking to? He/she would be speaking to God alone! Because only God would understand what that person was saying. Do you see this clear truth?

2 Corinthians 12:4 .....'How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.'

Now surely Paul is talking about ecstatic tongues here right? Wrong. This is so straight forward if you look at it in the simple way God wants us to look at His Word. Why were the words Paul heard unspeakable? He tells us in the same verse; because it was NOT LAWFUL for him to repeat them. They were words that were to remain in heaven. Simple as that. Now just for fun, let's say that he DID hear ecstatic tongues. Why do so many Christians openly speak in this ecstatic tongue, when Paul clearly said that it was UNLAWFUL for man to utter these things! Do you see how this speaking in gibberish has no foundation in the Bible?

There is no doubt when you take in the WHOLE council of God in the Bible, that the gift of speaking in tongues is NOT this ecstatic gibberish that is spoken in many churches today, but rather its the ability, through the Holy Spirit of being able to suddenly speak another language of the world to further the gospel message. This is the Bible truth about speaking in tongues.