Aug 11

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Today, many people claim they miraculously speak in tongues–languages totally unknown to humanity. It is maintained that, since Jesus promised believers the ability to speak in tongues (reference is made to Mark 16:17), then believers today should be able to speak in tongues.
Although their desire to please God must be appreciated, we must kindly point out their error (Eph. 4:15).
First, the tongue speaking which is spoken today is not the tongue speaking of the Bible. Today, the speaking is ecstatic utterances. It is not a human language at all. Some call it “jibber-jabber.” However, in the 1st century, tongue speaking was the miraculous ability to speak in a foreign, human language. This is made abundantly clear in Acts 2. In verse 4, the apostles “began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Then, when those who lived in foreign lands [who had traveled to Jerusalem for the day of Pentecost (v:1)] heard them, “they were confounded, because every man heard them speak in his own language” (v:6) and they asked “how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?” (v:8). Thus, whatever it is our religious friends are uttering today, it is not what they were doing in the New Testament–and those in the New Testament were speaking in tongues.
Second, believers today do not have the ability to do the miraculous (which includes speaking in tongues). Again, God makes it clear, the miraculous ability was to cease. He said, along with other miracles, “whether there be tongues, they shall cease” (1 Cor. 13:8). When ? When the “perfect is come, then that which is in part [i.e., the miraculous (v:9)] shall be done away” (v:10). What then, is the “perfect”? It is the completed revelation of God in the 27 books of the New Testament–it “is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God” (Rom. 12:2); it is “the perfect law of liberty” (Jam. 1:25).
Yes, believers had the miraculous ability to speak in foreign, human languages, but only as long as the N.T. was in the making. Today, the N.T. has long been completed (some 1900 years), and so has ceased the tongue speaking.

Gary Henson

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