Acts - The Early Church Gift of Tongues Keith West / Lewisville, Texas / Age 27  

Speaking In Tongues? (Part 1 – The Beginning – Acts 2)

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What is speaking in tongues? So I’m going to tell you first what I believe and what others believe. I believe Speaking in tongues is a spiritual gift of the New Testament. We see this gift in play in Acts 2. This is a one-time event. It happened in the early church. We see Paul talks about speaking in tongues multiple times in the new testament, even refers to speaking in the tongues of angels. That takes us to what other people believe. There is a teaching, obviously, I believe to be false teaching, that there is a God Language or an Angelic Language. This group of people believes that God can speak through them to other people and that there is an interpreter to tell the crowd around what God is saying. Now I’m an unbiased stand, let’s look at what the bible’s view is one the Gift of Tongues. I’m going to show you all the verses I can find that have the phrase “gift of tongues”, “speaking in tongues”, “speaking in tongues of angels”. We are going to examine the context of these verses. We will also use google search to research the “God Langauge” to see what we might learn about the original background of this teaching. Literally, how my life, I just skip over this topic, always been told what I know believe, but let’s dig deeper into this teaching and see if I change my mind or you change your mind! One goal in this bible study, it’s this right now, Paul said it to Timothy in 1 Timothy 1:13 and that is that we all should “Follow the pattern of the sound words that you have heard from me, in the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”

In The Beginning

So where do we begin? I thought maybe in Genesis, I mean it’s the beginning after all! I’m joking. Let’s turn to Acts 2, which is the first account of the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues is found. Let’s examine Acts 2.

(Verses 1-4)

When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested[a] on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

  1. Day of Pentecost – It starts off like this to pinpoint a special event in church history. This is a One Time event. Like if you didn’t buy your ticket to be part of this event you missed out on this type of event. It was a fulfillment of what Jesus told his disciples. John 16:7 “Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you.” The Helper is the Holy Spirit. 
  2. They Were All Together In One Place – This is important to note because before God sent the Holy Spirit to the church, Christians were not being persecuted. When the Holy Spirit came, the government of the earth at that time started to try to destroy the church, but couldn’t, but this happened after the Holy Spirit came to the earth. Kind of interesting. 
  3. Sound Like A Mighty Rushing Wind, And It Filled The Entire House…  Divided Tongues As Of Fire Appeared To Them and Rested On Each One Of Them – Last time I checked, when I gave my life to God, I didn’t hear a Mighty Rushing Wind or see one fill the house I was in. I don’t remember seeing divided tongues of fire resting on me. So with that, this must of been a one-time event. Unless one of you out there has had this experience, then if you did I would like to hear about it and then I would question the salvation of the entire church worldwide. So this was a one-time event.
  4. They Were All Filled With The Holy Spirit – So this isn’t a one-time event. When a believer accepts Christ as their Lord and Savior, they are filled with the Holy Spirit. I remember when I accepted Christ when I was 16, in my room all alone at my bedside, I felt something cover my body and I could feel God speaking to me, “Go Preach this Gospel”.  The account I have of receiving the Holy Spirit is not the same account the 1st-century church had of receiving the Holy Spirit. Paul writes in many places of laying on of hand and people receiving the Holy Spirit. I heard one denomination that believes that you receive it when you are baptized. In the old testament, the Holy Spirit came to people when the Prophet anointed them. We saw this with Saul and David. So I would take a wild guess based on personal experience and reading the bible that God can give the Holy Spirit to people any way he wants. There is no set way that God sends the Holy Spirit on people. So if that is true, what is the Day Of Pentecost for? For This… Number 5…
  5. Began To Speak In Other Tongues As The Spirit Gave Them Utterance – This is where the divisions enter into play. There are only two keywords right here we need to look at. “Other Tongues”, can also mean “Other Languages”. The word Tongues in this verse is plural, not singular. Plural meaning more than one. Singular meaning only one. The ‘s’ means that there were multiple tongues/Languages being spoken that day. Not just One Tongue, which would make one doubt in the teaching for the “God Language” or “Speaking in an Angelic Tongue”, because both of those are first viewed as the same teaching, but also they are One Language, but the church in Acts 2 is speaking in multiple (more than one) languages. 

What are these multiple languages that the church was speaking? 

(Verse 5- 13) Our Answer…

5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.”

  1. Every Nation Under The Heavens – So there was something going on in this city, most likely Jerelusuem was the city they are in, which had people from every nation on earth at that time inside this city and God decided that was the day he would send his Holy Spirit. God’s Perfect Timing.
  2. (V. 8) We hear… own native language. (V.9) We hear… our own tongues. – Notice what it does not say, nowhere in this verse or situation does it say that they hear an ‘unknown language’ and ‘someone was there to tell us the secrets of God’, which is the teaching of the God Language. So this also will make one doubt the Teachings of the “God Language”. 
  3. Persecution Begins! – But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine”. This also can mean, “They are drunk”. It’s a mockery to the Holy Spirit, they are not filled with Wine, but with the Holy Spirit. This is how persecution begins, joking here mocking there. It’s slow and steady. 

After this happens, Peter, being Peter, stands up and preaches a sermon, and a lot of people end up getting saved and become Christians. I want to point out something though, Jesus said, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Matthew 16:18. This event of Peter preaching a sermon and people receiving Christ and being baptized is a fulfillment of the prophetic words of Jesus in Matthew 16:18. Then chapter 2 ends like a happy ever after story.

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