Bible Tongues

Johnie Edwards
Bloomington, Indiana

There is much misunderstanding as to what the Bible teaches about tongue speaking. This misunderstanding is beginning to creep in among the people of God. Let me call to your attention eight things the Bible teaches about tongue speaking.

(1) Bible Tongues Were Languages. When the apostles spoke in tongues in Acts 2, "the multitude was confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language" (Acts 2:6). There were several different languages represented as Jews had come from all nations to keep the day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:51). They heard the apostles speak in their "own tongue, wherein they were born" (Acts 2:8). So, Bible tongues were not just a lot of jabbering but languages which were spoken at the time.

(2) Bible Tongue Speaking Was Associated With The Baptism Of The Holy Spirit. The Lord promised that He would send the Holy Spirit upon the apostles. "And behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high" (Lk. 24:49). The Lord renewed this promise in John 14:26. Jesus told the apostles, "Howbeit when the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come" (Jno. 16:13). In Acts 1:4, 5, 8, Jesus again tells the apostles to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit. They wait in Jerusalem. According to Acts 2, the Holy Spirit comes upon the apostles. "And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost; and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance" (Acts 2:4). Another example of tongue speaking being associated with the baptism of the Holy Spirit is in the case of Cornelius. Peter said, "And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning" (Acts 11:15). As a result of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, they spoke in tongues. (Acts 10:45-46).

For people today to be able to speak in tongues as was done in the first century, they would first have to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is impossible to receive today!

(3) Bible Tongue Speaking Was Associated With Spiritual Gifts. There are nine spiritual gifts as recorded in 1 Corinthians 12. One of these was tongues, and the interpretation of tongues. (1 Cor. 12:10). These gifts were imparted only by an apostle by the laying on of his hands. There is a case in Acts 19 where Paul taught and baptized about twelve men. "And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied" (Acts 19: 6). For people today to be able to speak in tongues as was done in Bible days, they would have to receive the baptism of the Spirit as we just noticed or have an apostle lay hands on them, neither of which can be done today! Here is proof-positive that Bible tongues do not exist today.

(4) Bible Tongues Were To Be Understood. Read 1 Corinthians 14:2-26. As you read these passages you will observe (a) "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" (v. 9) (b) "Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue" (v. 19). If no one understands the tongue in which one is speaking, what good is accomplished?

(5) Purpose of Bible Tongue Speaking. When Jesus told the Apostles to carry out the great commission, he also told them that the, could cast out devils, speak with new tongues, take up serpents, drink deadly things and not be hurt and recover the sick. (Mark 16:15-18) Now, what was the purpose of these things? "And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following" (Mk. 16: 20). Tongue speaking along with these other miracles simply confirmed the word. Paul told the Corinthians "Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not. . ." (1Cor. 14:22). Since the word has now been confirmed (Heb. 2:3), we do not need tongue speaking to confirm it!

(6) Use Of An Interpreter. One of the spiritual gifts was "the interpretation of tongues" (1 Cor. 12: 10). Paul said, "Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret" (1 Cor. 14:13). Again, Paul said, when there was tongue speaking, "let one interpret. But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God" (1 Cor. 14:27-28). If one spoke in a language others did not know and there was no interpreter, it became unfruitful. (1 Cor. 14: 14).

(7 ) Bible Tongue Speaking Was Orderly. "If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that, by course . . ." (I Cor. 14:27). Again it is said, Let all things be done decently and in order" (I Cor. 14:40). What little so called tongue speaking that I have heard, was everything but orderly!

(8) Bible Tongue Speaking Has Ceased. Paul told the Corinthians that "whether there be tongues, they shall cease . . ." (1 Cor. 13-8) He further told them when tongue speaking would cease. He said that tongue speaking would cease "when that which is perfect is come" (1 Cor. 13: 10). That "which is perfect" is the word of God revealed in its completness. (Jas. 1:25) Now that the Word of God has come, now that it has been completed, tongue speaking has ceased. This occurred about A.D. 96 and there has not been a case of Bible tongue speaking since.

TRUTH MAGAZINE XVII: 16, pp. 10-11
February 22, 1973