“TONGUES”–Ecstatic or Understandable?

The Bible uses the word “tongue” in three ways: (1) An ORGAN of the body (Jas. 3:5), (2) QUALITY of speech (Prov. 28:23; Jas. 3:6), and (3) a LANGUAGE to communicate ideas (Dan. 1:4; Acts 1:19; 26:14. The original words in the Bible for the word “tongue” bear this out. In the Old Testament, the word “tongue” is from the Hebrew word lashon, which means “tongue, or language.” In the New Testament, the word “tongue” is from the Greek word glossa, which means”a tongue, or language” and also from the word dialectos (from which we get the wo rd “dialect”, always referring to a language or form of a known language.

In contrast with these basic facts, Pentecostalism today claims that TONGUES can refer to “ecstatic utterances” OR “heavenly languages.” They claim there are two kinds of tongues: (1) OTHER TONGUES (the “initial” gift, being foreign languages spoken as “evidence” of salvation upon receiving Holy Ghost baptism, as based on Acts 2:1-4 (which was the fulfilling of a promise to the apostles only. dt). And (2) UNKNOWN TONGUES ( the “continuing gift of ecstatic utterances or heavenly languages by some in the church, as based on 1 Cor. 14:1-10. Pentecostalism makes an unwarranted distinction between the “gift” of tongues in Acts 2, and 1 Cor. 14. This double meaning of “tongues” allows them to evade pertinent questions by opponents.

The major purpose of “tongues” was to serve as a “sign” to the unbelievers. As stated in connection with the Great Commission of Mark 16. 15 “And he said unto them, Go yhe into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. 16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. 17; And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; 18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover. 19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20 And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen” (Mark 16:15-20) “Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe nod” (1 Cor. 14:22).

The book of Acts is a book which records the actions of the apostles, in carrying out the commission Christ gave TO the apostles, at which time He said “tongues” would be a sign. This book best describes the “sign” of tongues. Jesus said the apostles would speak with NEW (Gr. Kainos, meaning “new in point of time”) tongues, for they were human languages they had not known before (new in quality to them) rather than “neos” tongues, “new in time” tongues, or languages that had never been spoken before by anyone.

ACTS 2—APOSTLES ON PENTECOST. The clearest description of “tongues” is found on this “the beginning” day of the church, as “tongue-speaking” is recorded in it’s purest form. “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). The 12 apostles were the ONLY ones to speak in tongues on this occasion (Acts 1:26-2:4.7.14). They spoke IN “other” (Gr/ heterais, meaning “foreign”) “tongues” (Gr. Glossa. meaning “languages). The Jews from other nations understood what the apostles s aid in their native tongue, “every man heard them speak in his own language” v/ 6/ “And how hear we every man in our own tongue wherein we were born?” (v. 8). “…we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God” ( v. 11). Some have argued that the miracle was in the “hearing”, as the 12 apostles spoke in strange sounds. God caused man to interpret the sounds into his own language. So they were likely gathered in groups of their own nations. It was a miracle of the “tongue”, not of the “ear”. Three times it is said that the multitude SPEAK (vs. 4, 11) and dialectos (vs. 6, 8d) are used interchangeably The King James II translation translation correctly renders the words “language” in each verse, as well in v. 4. Though ALL Jews had common knowledge of the Hebrew tongue, AND the Greek tongue ( the universal tongue of the day), they were amazed that the apostles from Galilee could ALSO speak “their” (the multitude) “local” languages where they (the multitude) were born.

The apostles preceded Peter’s sermon in the common language of all the people present—evidently in the Hebrew tongue. If anyone today claims to have the kind of tongues used in Acts 2, such tongues would of necessity have ro be preceded by: (1) The sound of a rushing mighty wind (v. 2), and (2) Cloven tongues like as of fire sitting upon each one who speaks in such tongues AND such tongues “tongue-speaking” would be before the sermon delve red. How UNLIKE Acts 2 are claims of “tongue-speaking today?

The tongues of Acts 2 were NOT used to preach the gospel, but rather the wonderful works of God” (v. 11, 12)-–meaning that something about God’s power was stated, but NOT the message of salvation through Christ (which came AFTER the explanation of “tongues”. Hence, “tongues” on Pentecost were a sign to the multitude which “confirmed” the word later spoken, as their attention was gained by the “tongues”. Thus, the instance of Pentecost establishes the guidelines for later and less obvious references to “tongues.”

ACTS 10—GENTILES IN CAESAREA. This second instance of “tongues” is sometimes called the “Gentile Pentecost” because of the similarity to the Jewish Pentecost of Acts 2. In Acts 2, the tongues-speaking occurred before the gospel was preached, to convince the JEWS that God’s message was to be accepted by them as being genuine—hence, a “SIGN” UNTO THEM. In Acts 10, the tongues-speaking occurred before the gospel was preached, to convince the JEWS that God’s message was to be accepted by the Gentiles as well as the Jews—hence, a “SIGN”unto them. As on Pentecost, the gift of tongues came as a result of Holy Spirit “baptism”. In Acts 10:44-46, Luke records the general account of “tongues” in Caesarea, while Peter himself gives a specific account (Acts 11:4, 15-17). The events here reminded Peter of “the beginning” (Acts 11:15) as recorded in Acts 2. Hence, it was an unusual occurrence, and the converts during these 8 intervening years had NOT been receiving Holy Spirit baptism. Peter said the Gentiles received a “like” (Gr. Isen meaning “equal”) “gift”(Acts 11:17) as that in Acts 2. The instances were the same—praising God” (Acts 2:11; 10:46). The sermon came later in both instances. Since Acts 2 involved real languages, and Acts 10 was LIKE Acts 2, it would ALSO involve real languages. Now, if ANYONE today claims to have the kind of tongues used in Acts 10, such tongues would of necessity have to be spoken BEFORE (1) Salvation, and (2) Hearing about Christ—for these Gentiles who spoke in tongues did so before they had even HEARD the message of salvation offered in the name of Jesus Christ, and they certainly did not speak in tongues as “evidence” of SALVATION.

ACTS 19—BY THE EPHESIANS. Unlike the first two occasions where tongues came as a result of Holy Spirit baptism, it came through the laying on of an apostle’s hands this time—being a miraculous gift. It is joined with “prophecy”–another of the gifts that came through the laying on of apostolic hands (Acts 19:6). Luke used the Greek word glossa to describe all 3 occurrences of “tongues” in Acts, and since he did not distinguish between this event and the other two (which definitely involved real languages), the precedent of Acts 2 would be basis for assuming nothing else than the fact that we also have REAL LANGUAGES spoken in Acts 19. We cannot place a new meaning on the word glossa that is not given in the text. These tongues by the 12 “men” in Ephesians were a “SIGN” to these Jews that John’s baptism had been replaced by baptism in the name of Christ. There was no crying at the altar, or seeking of tongues by extended prayer, but simply by the laying on of Paul’s hands the Holy Spirit enabled them to speak in tongues AND prophesy. If ANYONE today claims to have the kind of tongues of Acts 19, such tongues would of necessity have to be preceded by the laying on of some apostle’s hands—namely, the hands of the apostle Paul.

1 COR. 14—THE CORINTHIANS. Consistency would keep the meaning of the word “tongue” the same as in the book of Acts. Since the three occasions in Acts for tongues-speaking are in Acts 2, 10, and 19, and ALL are real languages, AND Paul was in Corinth in Acts 18 to bestow the gift of tongues to some of the members WHY should this gift be anything different than the use of real languages?? Yet, Pentecostals refer us to 1 Cor. 14:2 which reads, “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.” We are told that HERE we have an instance of “unknown” tongues, rather than “other” (known) tongues in the the book of Acts. However, there is absolutely no Greek word for “unknown” in this passage, as indicated by the word being italicized (put there by translators to attempt to make the thought complete). [Now, this applies ONLY to instances where the word “unknown” is italicized, because the word “unknown” IS found 3 times in the New Testament where it is not italicized (Acts 17:23; 2 Cor. 6:9; Acts 17:23), and there the Greek word is agnoeo

or agnostos [which means “unbelief” or “ignorant”], from which we get the word “agnosticism.”] If one in Corinth spoke in an “other tongue” than the ordinary or common language, it would have been “unknown” to the hearers. Hence, no man present in the assembly could understand him, and what he spoke would be “mysterious.” Paul is simply saying that there is NO communication or worthwhile speech going on when tongues are used in an audience that doesn’t understand the languages being spoken. A foreign language could not be understood without an interpreter to explain the meaning of one language into another tongue.

In the text, Paul proves that “real languages” rather than ecstatic utterances, are under consideration, by presenting two arguments: (1) By talking about languages IN THE WORLD, and (2) By tying THEIR TONGUES to real languages of the Old Testament, AND to the day of Pentecost (where real languages were spoken. First;, Paul talks about languages “in the world.” So, in 1 Cor.14:10, 11: he says:

10 There are, it many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them are without signification. 11 Therefore if I know not the

meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.”

The word “voices” is from the Greek word phone, which means a sound, or language”, and is rendered “languages” by the NASB (New American Standard Bible). These “voices” or “languages” are modified by the expression “in the world”, that have “signification” or “meaning.” This means that the languages of 1 Cor.14 were languages of this WORLD, and NOT some :heavenly, or completely UNKNOWN language. Paul’s point from verse 11 is that we MUST know the meaning of the “voice” (Gr. Phone) or “language” (NASB) so that there WILL be communication between the speaker and the hearer. Thus, within the context of 1 Cor. 14 on “unknown tongues”, Paul makes it clear that he is talking about the proper use of REAL LANGUAGES.

Second, Paul’s use of an Old Testament passage ties 1 Cor. 14 to real languages of the Old Testament AND in Acts 2, on the day of Pentecost. “In the law it is written, With men of other languages and other lips will I speak unto this people, and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord”(1 Cor. 14:21. This is quoted from Isa. 28:11-13, where the prophet Isiah is stating that the Assyrians were going to “speak”TO Israel, but they would not hear or understand, because of their stubbornness.”They COULD have heard and understood, but refused to do so. The Assyrians did not speak “ecstatic utterances”, but a REAL LANGUAGE of Assyria. Therefore, the parallel that Paul draws from Isaiah to apply to the Corinthians would HAVE be a real language, for it was in the Old Testament, and would have to be such in the New Testament for the parallel to be complete.

Also, the use of the expression “other tongues” in 1 Cor. 14:21 connects the context of 1 Cor. 14 with both the real languages of Isaiah 28, and Acts 2. We have already seen the connection from Isaiah. Pentecostals tell us that the “other tongue” of Acts 2:4 does refer to real languages, but 1 Cor.14 deal with “unknown tongues.” However, Paul tells us that these so-called “unknown tongues” were nothing more than the “other tongues”–just as in Acts 2. note the following parallel:

ACTS 2;4 “other tongues…Gr. heterais glossais

1 COR. 14:21 “other tongues…Gr. heteroglassois

Now, “other tongues” in Isa. 28:11 and Acts 2:4 were real languages, so were they in 1 Cor. 14—the entire context. The ability to speak in tongues in the first century was miraculous in that those who spoke in tongues did not first have to study the languages, while the TRUE function of “tongues” today requires study on the part of those who speak the language.

RULES FOR TONGUES-SPEAKING. Ecstatic utterances or unexplainable sounds which some refer to as “tongues-speaking” are not new or unique in religious activities in so-called Christianity, for such utterances have been noted among HEATHEN religious for centuries, and in groups outside of ANY religious realm. Since ecstatic utterances WERE practiced in the heathen temples before Christianity even began, anything similar would surely have been looked upon with suspicion, and as a carbon copy of that heathenistic practice, and surely God would not bestow a “sign” of something “new” (Mark 16:17) that would be a COPY or REMINDER of something the heathen were doing. Dr.

Stuart Bergsma, a practicing psychiatrist who has studied modern tongues-speaking, concludes that it is a “psychological phenomenon”, and says,

Physiologically, the human brain is somewhat similar to a computer. If a computer is overload it will become erratic and

will demonstrate “neurotic” symptoms and thus may spew out nonsense if pushed beyond its limits. By the same token, the brain has limits and under high emotional strain may rattle off nonsense syllables, broken phrases, pseudo languages.

Dr. Bergsma quotes another author who has compared the tongues-speaking jibberish with individuals taking LSD and said it is surprising how the symptoms are IDENTICAL both instances.

Paul did NOT condemn the proper use of tongues in the Corinthian church, though there is no evi-dence anywhere that ANY other congregation ever practiced such in worship in the first century. Paul sought to limit its use (1 Cor. 14:39), and laid down rules that might cause the excitement of such gifts to dissipate.

In the New Testament, we learn some general and specific rules regarding the reception and use of tongues. Upon two occasions Hold Spirit baptism enabled people to speak in other languages. The 12 apostles on the day of Pentecost, and the Gentiles in Caesarea were baptized with the holy Ghost and could “speak in tongues” and be understood by others WITHOUT the use of interpreters. Otherwise, the gift of tongues was ALWAYS received through another medium—that of the “laying of an apostle’s hands.”

No one but the apostles were worked miracles after the church began until the apostles laid their hands on others, who in turn could work miracles (Acts 2: 43; 3:4, 6; 4:29-30, 33; 5:12-16; 6:6, 8; 8:6, 13). Philip, after having apostles’ hands laid upon him, began to work miracles, but no one but an apostle could pass such powers on to others. Philip converted the Samaritans, but the APOSTLES sent two of their own number into Samaria to give them miraculous gifts. ”Then laid they their hands on them and they received the Holy Ghost. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money” (Acts 8:17, 18) that HE might be able to pass this gift on to others. He was rebuked and told “thou has neither part nor lot in this matter” (Acts 8:21). WHY do; you suppose Simon did not try to buy this power from PHILIP instead of from the apostles? Simply this: because Philip himself did not have the power to bestow the Holy Spirit on others, or else the apostles would not have had to come down from Jerusalem to complete their reception of the Holy Spirit in this manner. There ARE instances where non-apostles laid their hands upon people, but NOT for the purpose of bestowing spiritual gifts. Some have erroneously concluded that elders could bestow such gifts, according to 1 Tim.4:1 4, which said, “Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” Paul referred to this gift in 2 Tim. 1:4 which had been given to Timothy by the laying on of HIS (Paul’s) hands. The Greek word for “by” in 2 Tim. 1:6 9through”, ASV) is dia, which means “through, or by means of.” The Greek word for “with” in 1 Tim. 4:14 is meta, meaning {together with”, or “in common with”) Hence, this gift was given BY an apostle in connection WITH the laying of hands of an eldership, to possibly commend him to his work, as was the custom in that day (Acts 13:2-3; 1 Tim. 5:22).

The Roman Christians had NO means of receiving miraculous gifts of the Spirit (which could included tongues-speaking) except BY an apostle’s hands “For I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established” (Rom. 1:11). If tongues-speaking could be received through prayer or any other means, why didn’t Paul tell them to pray or seek it through some other means? IF it came directly through prayer as some now contend, why did Paul have to plan a long voyage to Rome to bestow such gifts upon them??

Now, let’s consider some specific RULES for the USE of tongues and other gifts from the Spirit. Remember this: If tongues-peaking is still in effect today,these rules or regulations would still apply and would be binding. These rules are the commandments of the Lord. (1 Cor. 14:37).

FIRST, Tongues we re only to be used to edify the whole CHURCH (1 Cor.14:26, 5).

SECOND, tongues-speaking was to be done for EDIFYING in some way, as “everything” was to be done for this purpose, and there were no interpreters to make edification possible, it was not to be d one. v. 26

THIRD, there was NEVER to be more than 2 or 3 to speak in tongues in one assembly of the church.”If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three. (1 Cor;14:27). If tongues are “evidence of being saved,” then this passage would limit the number to be saved in one assembly—three. However, this is where the Pentecostals bring up the double meaning of tongue,s claiming that these are the “unknown” tongues and NOT the “other” tongues (a distinction that the Holy Spirit Himself did not know or make known). FOURTH, 2 or 3 speakers were to speak “by course”,or “in turn”. (1 Cor.14 :27)

FIFTH, there is to be only “one” interpreter”. (1 Cor. 14:27) God calls for only ONE interpreter. Usually interpreters in tongues-speaking services give (1) A scriptural summary, or (2) A new revelation. In giving a summary, he is doing something that man could do for himself if he studied, but the function of an interpreter would do way with the need for studying, for the people would just wait and let the tongues-speakers explore the subject and give an inspired summation, which would obviously be more accurate than a human sum-mary. In giving a revelation, an interpreter would be saying that the Bible is not adequate, and is not the full revelation of God.

SIXTH, there is to be NO tongue-speaking if there is “no interpreter” present. “But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church (1 Cor 14:28). Again, this is where the Pentecostals change horses and ride off in the “unknown” instead of the “other” direction

SEVENTH, tongues-speaking, as all other gifts, were to done in such a way as to “avoid confusion”. v. 33

SEVENTH, tongues-speakers were to CONTROL themselves and their messages (1 Cor. 14:28, 32, 33). Today, some claim the Spirit MAKES them speak and they cannot help it. Some even “speak” without knowing if an interpreter is present or not..This is against the rule of God.

EIGHTH, women were never to speak in tongues or use other special gifts in the assembly of the church.

34 Let your women keep silence in the churches for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be

under obedience, as also saith the law. 35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is

a shame for women to speak in the church. (1 Cor. 14:34, 35).

Some men to claim to speak in tongues have referred to their wives who received the gift of tongues first, and then they got it next, but according to the scriptures, women we re never to speak in tongues in the church, and there is no record of them speaking in miraculous tongues at home, or any other place. Paul isn’t writing about women keeping ;quiet in business meetings, or in the pulpit (though such is regulated by other passages, such as 1 Tim. 2:11-13. Women can sing, or confess faith or confess sin in the gathering of saints, but never to speak in the exercise of spiritual gifts—especially the gift of tongues as under discussion in this chapter. If women today would respect this rule in Pentecostalism, “ecstatic utterances” would die out in a matter of days.

NINTH, tongues-speaking was to be done “decently and in order” (1 Cor. 14:40). Remember, if tongues-speaking is still in effect today, these rules still would apply.


Tongues we re “so cease” along with other miraculous gifts.

8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail, whether their be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9. For we know in part,; and we prophecy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 143. and now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these in charity. (1 COR. 13:8-13)

Tongues were to cease when “that which is perfect” cme—whatever that meant. “That which is perfect is NOT (1) HEAVEN, (2) CHRIST, (3) LOVE, or (3) THE WRITTEN WORD (altogether), for none of them re under specific consideration by Paul in this passage. Let’s consider each possibility. IF Tongues are to case when we get to heaven, there are several rhetorical questions we would like to ask. (1) If tongues (heavenly languages) are to cease in heaven, are “heavenly languages to cease in HEAVEN? (2) 0r, Why should we not enjoy ecstatic utterances there, if they are so desirable here? (3) Why should we not be able to speak “heavenly languages” in heaven if they can be spoken on earth? (4) If tongues are to cease in heaven, is knowledge to be done away in heaven as well? IF :”that which is perfect” is heaven, and THERE we are to know MORE (v. 12), how could it “vanish way? v. 8. So, what proves too much proves nothing at all,and to claim the “perfect” is heaven is to destroy knowledge and language (or ecstatic utterances IF Pentecostals are right in saying that tongues mean ecstatic utterances) IN HEAVEN.

“That which is perfect” is NOT referring to the coming of Christ, for such is not under consideration here, and Paul would NOT have referred o Christ as ‘that’, but “he”, if Christ has been in mind. The Greek word teleion which is translated “perfect” in this text is in the neuter gender, and would be in the masculine if Christ was meant.

“Love” is not the fulfilling of “that which is perfect.” True, the use of “perfect” is in the context of “love”, but everything within a context doesn’t HAVE to refer to the subject in full, but is naturally related to the theme of love, which is an overall context of “spiritual gifts.” The Greek word for “perfect” is neuter in gender, while the word for “love” is feminine Verse 13 says they ALREADY had love, so it wasn’t something yet to come. True, love is the greatest of the three things mentioned in this verse, and it would endure after the gifts ceased, and even in heaven, but it was also an integral part of the church when Paul wrote 1 Cor. 13, and would always remain as an integral part of the church.

“That which is perfect” is NOT referring to the completion of written word of God—ALTOGETHER. Some jump to the word “perfect” in James 1:25 (which refers to the perfect law of liberty) to quickly explain 1 Cor. 13, but there are other things to which we could as easily jump to answer it on the basis of a similar word in another context. Why not refer to the “perfect” man of God of 2 Tim. 3;17? Why not refer to the “perfect” work of James 1:4? True, the “perfect law of liberty” is an integral part of “that which is perfect”, but Paul is not referring to the perfect word in “written form” as the thing which would end prophecies, tongues,and knowledge. As a matter of fact, SOME of the scripture had already been written when Paul referred to something “perfect” which was yet to come. Also, when James 1;25 was written, ALL the scripture had not been written as of yet. So, while James 1;25 MAY refer to the gospel, it doesn’t mean in completed written form, but the gospel as given by Christ through the apostles and prophets—whether ORAL or WRITTEN.

Now, let’s make an analysis of the text of 1 Cor. 13.Paul makes a contrast between “THAT” which is “in part” and “THAT” which is “perfect”. He stated that “WE” know “in part” and prophesy “in part” (v. 9). Obviously, the word “WE” refers to Christians at that time (A.D. 57) who were members of the BODY, or the CHURCH (1 Cor. 1;2; 12:13; Col. 1:18). The “WE” of v. 9 and the second “that” in v. 10 are used interchangeably in connection with the expression” “in part”. Note: “ WE know….and….prophesy in part…THAT which is in part shall be done away.” The words “in part shall be done away.” The words ek meros, with ek being a preposition translated “in”, and meros meaning “in a measure, to some degree, imperfectl y, according to Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, p. 401). Hence, the church at that time) was doing things “in part” or imperfectly, but the imperfection was to be done away, Or, there would come a time when they would no longer do things imperfectly. The key word to this entire context is “that” (as shown in the KJV)–a word that BEST describes the thought from the original Greek language—a word which refers to the state or condition of the “WE” of v. 9, or the “church”. At the time Paul wrote, the church was “in part”, or in it’s infant stage. After, the church was to be become “perfect”, or mature.

Now, let’s consider the word “perfect”, which is from the Greek word teleion, which means “brought to completion, fully accomplished, fully developed, as opposed to what is partial and limited” (Green’s Lexicon, p. 185, 186). The ek meros state of the church in A,D,57 was one of childhood, or infancy, and depended on special “helps” of prophecies, tongues, and knowledge, just as an infant depends on parents to feed and change it. At this state, the word of God was mostly ORAL in the apostles, and as it was received it had to be confirmed miraculously. The apostles and prophets were divinely inspired to reveal God’s will and write what we call the “New Testament” (Eph. 3:1-5). The word of God was spoken, then written in full (2 Thess. 3:10). The teleion state pf the church AFTER the miraculous period would be one of manhood, or maturity, and would have the completed form of the written word into which they could look without the use of special helps, and could depend upon what they read (John 20;30-31; 2 Tim. 3:16-17). Now the word has been completed and confirmed for all ages (Heb. 2:3-4; Rev. 22:18-19). The word “perfect” (teleion) modifies the implied “that” of v. 10, which is IN the KJV, which at one time was modified by “in part” (ek meros). Hence, the “THAT” (“we”, v. 9, or the church) BECOMES something, rather than something else perrfect occurring that suddenly brings the gifts of prophecy, tongues and knowledge to an end.

Paul gives three illustrations to show the CHANGE of the church from its infant state (when it had to depend on helps to its mature state (having the completed revelation as a basis for maturity. First, he gives the illustration of child developing into a man, and leaving the childish things behind, and what better illustration could he have given to show the growth of the church from its infancy to maturity than that of himself growing from a child to manhood (1 Cor. 13:11). Second, he gave the illustration of looking into a mirror as compared to a face to face encounter (1 Cor.,13:12). The mirrors in those days were of silver or some polished metal, giving a far dimmer image than glasses do today. The church in immaturity is like looking at a metal mirror from some distance away, with the image blurred and to make out the image is like attempting to answer a riddle, but the mature state of the church is like looking directly into the face of something, with the full knowledge of what is seen. Third, Paul gave the illustration of limited knowledge and then full knowledge to show the development of the state of the church (1 Cor. 12:12).

Paul’s language in the book of Ephesians confirms the contrast be tween the infant state and the mature state of the church. Paul likens the church to a man (Eph. 2:15). Paul spoke of the “gifts” Christ gave unto men (Eph. 4:8). These gifts were for the perfecting (complete adjustment) of the saints (Eph. 4:12). These gifts were to last “till” (signifying an end) we come into the unity of the faith, and unto a perfect man (Eph. 4:13). The expression “unity of the faith” is equivalent to saying “the unity of the gospel” or the completed revelation of the gospel. The expression “unto a perfect man” is another way of saying that the church is to come into a state of maturity, without the need of “helps”. The church would THEN be “no more children” (v. 14. but speaking the truth in love (instead of miraculously, by the Spirit) and would be ”grown up” (v. 15).

So, by the time the apostles died, the word of God was completely recorded as scripture, so as to make the church full grown and no longer dependent on special gifts. Everything God wants the churcb to know today is in the Bible, and “love” continues as an element for the mature church, as we speak the truth in love (1 Cor. 13:8; Eph. 4:15). Undergirding the maturity of the church is the word of God, while perme- ating the maturity of the church is love. There is no available means for continuing the gifts of prohecy and tongues and knowledge today, for the apostles have died, as well as those upon whom they laid their hands.

To further show the “temporal” nature of “tongues” (the ability to speak another language without having first learned that language), we present the following three observations (1) “Tongues” are listed with the other temporary items (1 Cor. 12:28), so if some of these things could cease or be withdrawn, it is conceivable that “tongues” might also be included as temporary. (2) The apostleship and prophecy were foundational” in nature, and tongues are always associated with prophecy in the foundation of the church, so they would likely cease altogether (Acts 19:6; 1 Cor. 13:8; 12:10; 14:1-2, 5-6; Eph. 2:20) (3) Miracles were related to the apostolic office, and being foundational in nature, would cease; and since tongues were miracles they would cease when miracles ceased (2 Cor. 12:12) Miracles and tongues were the same in nature, for tongues-speaking was itself a miracle. Thus, when the age of the apostles ended, the age of miracles (including tongues) also ended. The foundation of the church had been laid.

The gift of tongues in the first century was something entirely different than that which is claimed today in Pentecostalism. Tongues in the first century were real languages, and tongues today are also real languages. In the first century, some could speak real languages without having first studied them, but today we have to learn the languages first. So-called tongues” among Pentecostals today are nothing more than a “psychological phenomenon.” Dr, E.. Mansell Pattison, a psychiatrist, in his article on Glossolalia in the Journal of the Amercian Scientific Affiliation in September of 1958, pointed this out when he wrote:

Glossolalic utterances which are heard are stored in the memory until the decision is made to speak in tongues.

The stored memory fragments may be brought into awareness and may often be practiced, I. e., recited over and

over again to oneself until an acceptable form of glossolalia is mastered. With its mastering, “spontaneous” utter-

ances may be eternalized for the first time. The glossolalic utterances may first be spoken under a variety of effective and emotional states. When spoken, the glossolalia may be similar to that of the group where it was learned or sim- ilar to the glossolalic leader who taught it. As the initiate speaks glossolalia on more and more occasions, the speech becomes more individualized until eventually the utterances are expressive of the personality and behavior of the speaker. With repeated use of “tongues” the speech becomes automatic and habitual.

It is said that the mind actually records every sound it receives, but only under certain conditions can that sound be recalled. The account is given of one woman who began reciting Bible passages in the Hebrew language while she was ill, but it was learned later that in her younger days she had worked in the home of a minister who was known to recite frequently from the Hebrew version of the Old Testament, and these scriptures had made an impression on her mind and she could recite them only under a delirium. In certain states of mind and body, the power of memory receives abnormal strength, and in the delirium of fever, some have spoken things in languages they learned in youth that they thought they had forgotten. Putting it plainly, so-called “tongues-speaking” is no more than self-induced hypnosis, which may well harm a person’s mental state for life. Some have been misguided into thinking they HAVE to speak in tongues (“getting the Holy Spirit”) to “know” they have been saved from sin. Thus, they gear themselves emotionally to “speak in tongues”, and bring about a self-induced hypnotic state, and a sound that convinces them that they have been saved, and have instant “spirituality”–while it is actually nothing more than an emotional reaction. May a careful study of God’s word build us up and help us to better combat the error of “tongues.”


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