Tongues (2)

  • Now lets kill one more sacred cow we discussed at the end of part 1 while were on the subject of this verse 38 in Acts 2. There are denominations that insist this verse establishes the fact that when you are baptized, it must be in the name of Jesus. They use this verse to override the scripture in Matthew 28:19 that says “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” What they fail to do is put it in context.

    In Acts 2, Peter is speaking to the Jewish community. In Matthew Jesus is speaking to the disciples about the “all nations”, not just Jews. So, the Truth, Jesus, tells them to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as it applies to unsaved nations. Peter tells the Jews who knew the Father and knew the Holy Spirit, to come to a knowledge of Jesus also and be baptized in His name. See what happens when you put scripture in context? You get the Truth. What a novel thought.

    So lets deal with this challenge. Who is the audience? It is the old covenant community of Jews and proselytes, gathered in Jerusalem from across the world. They are perplexed by what they see and hear (vs 7-13). They have no frame of reference for understanding what is going on.

    This new life of the grace of God cannot be understood or explained based on the lives they grew up in. This is new and strange stuff to them. This group of people had been baptized or knew God, and they knew the Holy Spirit, but they had not come to a knowledge and acceptance of Jesus.

    Peter is the one speaking in this text. He provides this old covenant crowd with a frame of reference that helps them understand what they are seeing and hearing (vs 14-36). Peter describes that this experience is the fulfillment of old covenant promises (vs 16-21), and proceeds by changing the text of Joel. By so doing, Peter indicates that it inaugurates the last days, a phrase the Jewish hearers understand to mean the new realm of God’s kingdom has begun. This sets the things the Jewish community is seeing and hearing into a context they can understand, and it is a radical proclamation.

    Peter is giving them the understanding they need to realize that it is time to move from the old covenant life into the new life in Christ by His Spirit. Peter is careful to do this by utilizing their knowledge of old covenant prophecy and rule, showing them fulfillment of the prophet’s declaration. This gives them a perspective to moving into the new covenant realm of truth.

    Okay. That should answer the argument surrounding verse 38, and set in context who the audience is in Acts 2. Now lets get back to the issue of tongues and their relevance for today.

    Jesus is our example and He needed to receive the Holy Spirit. If memory serves me right, Jesus did not start His powerful ministry until after the Holy Spirit came upon him at the river Jordan. Even if memory doesn’t serve me right, scripture does. Read it in John 1:33. Also in that verse you see that it is Jesus who is the baptizer in the Holy Spirit. Matthew and Mark tell the same story of the Spirit descending upon Jesus.

    Speaking with tongues is not just a one time occurrence. Speaking with tongues is a continual experience for the rest of one’s life. There are a number of reasons for this.

    Speaking in tongues is of great value for devotional use. 1 Corinthians 14:2 says, “For he who speaks in a ‘tongue’ addresses God, not man; no one understands him; he is talking of divine secrets in the Spirit”. Here, Paul is talking about the individual Spirit-filled believer employing the use of tongues in his prayer life. Through speaking in tongues, you can pray out the plan of God for your life by the power of the Holy Spirit.

    The enemy cannot steal your prayers and twist them when they are prayed in the Holy Ghost or in tongues. If you can understand your prayer or your language, then the devil can, because you use your mind when you speak and that’s where the devil attacks. However, if you cannot understand what you’re saying, then neither can the devil, because when you pray in tongues your spirit speaks not your mind. You do the speaking, but the Spirt gives the utterance and it’s always in the will of the Father.

    Tongues are also used as a means of spiritual edification. 1 Corinthians 14:4 says, “He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself . . . .” Therefore, speaking in tongues is a means of spiritual edification or building up. Edifying yourself by speaking in other tongues is just one of the many blessings that God has provided through the baptism in the Holy Ghost. And this wonderful blessing, this glorious gift of the Holy Ghost, is available to every born-again believer.

    The Amplified Bible reads, “My spirit [by the Holy Spirit within me] prays, but my mind is unproductive . . .” (1 Corinthians 14:14). So praying in tongues is not for mental edification, but for spiritual edification.

    Speaking with tongues is a supernatural way to magnify God. For the believer who is filled with the Holy Ghost, his tongues are given to him to use constantly in his worship and devotion to God. The Bible says in Acts 10:46 concerning Cornelius and his household when they began to speak with tongues, “For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. . . .”

    Speaking with tongues is the doorway into all the other spiritual gifts. Some people want to experience all the gifts of the Spirit at once, but you have to go through the door to get into the supernatural. Also, it is as the Spirit of God wills, not as we will (1 Corinthians 12:11). In other words, you can’t force or “put on” a manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit.

    Ya but, speaking in tongues should be a private thing. Really?? That’s not what scripture says. Look at these verses.

    Acts 2:5-8.

    At that time there were devout Jews from every nation living in Jerusalem. When they heard the loud noise, everyone came running, and they were bewildered to hear their own languages being spoken by the believers. They were completely amazed. “How can this be?” they exclaimed. “These people are all from Galilee, and yet we hear them speaking in our own native languages!”

    It doesn’t look like the early church apostles had a problem speaking in tongues loudly in publicly. Here’s another one.

    1 Corinthians 14:5. “I wish you could all speak in tongues, but even more I wish you could all prophesy. For prophecy is greater than speaking in tongues, unless someone interprets what you are saying so that the whole church will be strengthened.”

    Here Paul is saying that if you speak in tongues in public, but no one is there to interpret (which equals prophesying) then no one will get the message. They may be edified to know that you’ve just spoken to God, but they won’t know what you said.

    That’s why Paul says that anyone who speaks in tongues should also ask for the ability to interpret. Look at verse 13 of 1 Corinthians 14. As a matter of fact, study this whole chapter of 1 Corinthians 14. It’s very informative about tongues.

    Here’s verses 22-25 of 1 Corinthians 14.

    22 So you see that speaking in tongues is a sign, not for believers, but for unbelievers. Prophecy, however, is for the benefit of believers, not unbelievers.

    I’m not sure how you can be a sign to unbelievers if you only speak in tongues in private. Here’s more proof that tongues are not just for private use.

    23 Even so, if unbelievers or people who don’t understand these things come into your church meeting and hear everyone speaking in an unknown language, they will think you are crazy. 24 But if all of you are prophesying, and unbelievers or people who don’t understand these things come into your meeting, they will be convicted of sin and judged by what you say. 25 As they listen, their secret thoughts will be exposed, and they will fall to their knees and worship God, declaring, “God is truly here among you.”

    The unbeliever will think you’re crazy and wonder what this event is. As they continue to wonder and think you’re crazy, prophetic words will come forth and it will convict them.

    Verse 39 of this great chapter says we should covet to prophesy, but not forbid the speaking in tongues. How does the religious church reconcile their beliefs against tongues based on that scripture? Good question.

    This is a good break point, but we are not even close to being done with this issue. We’ll start Part 2 with the questions “How do I get this gift of speaking in tongues? Is this gift really for me? What does the Bible say? Grace and Peace.


  • Crystal Roeden
    Crystal Roeden That's fascinating how you put that into context. Thank you. I've been trying to understand why it was said that way one place and then differently in another. I always consider that saying the Father, Son and Holy Spirit allowed for the fact that the...  more
    August 4, 2020 - Report
  • Mark Kunerth
    Mark Kunerth Thank you for your comments. They are encouraging. One other thing concerning baptism in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as opposed to the name of Jesus is this. In one instance Jesus said Father, Son and Holy Spirit. In another, Peter said...  more
    August 5, 2020 - 1 likes this - Report