THE GIFT OF TONGUES DISPLAYED IN
THE BOOK OF ACTS
A RESEARCH PAPER SUBMITTED TO PROFESSOR DOUGLAS PETERSON
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR
LIBERTY UNIVERSITY ONLINE
DECEMBER 5, 2012
TABLE OF CONTENTS
THE CONVERSION OF CORNELIUS
TONGUES AT EPHESIAN BAPTISM
The gift of Tongues has been becoming more and more popular over the past 10 years. Christians appear to have differing views on the matter. Some think it is a sign of the HOLY SPIRIT, other think it is a manifestation of demonic forces. There are Bible verses to support both of these opinions, so the issues can become rather confusing. This paper is meant to show exactly everything that the Book of Acts mentions on the subject of tongues. This paper doesn’t refer to any other parts in the Bible regarding tongues. There are three different incidences in the Book of Acts that refers to speaking in tongues. First in Acts 2:4, 6-11 at the day of Pentecost, then in Acts 10:46 at the conversion of Cornelius, and finally in Acts 19:6 at the baptism of the 12 men in Ephesus. I am going to look solely at these events in order to study exactly what the Book of Acts says about tongues. Pentecost
The experience of the Spirit on Pentecost is a fulfillment of the prophecy of John the Baptist concerning the one who would baptize in the Holy Spirit (Matt. 3:11; Mark 1:6; Luke 3:16; John 1:33). This promise is also stated by Jesus Christ in Acts 1:5. The coming of the Spirit at Pentecost is thus tightly tied to a redemptive-historical motif. The day of Pentecost is a Jewish holiday that happens during Passover. It was also known as the “Feast of Weeks” or “Day of First Fruits”. It was a celebration of the harvest. It came after the seven weeks of harvesting that started with the waving of the first barley sheaf during Passover celebrations. By the first century A. D. Pentecost was also considered the anniversary of the giving of the law on Mount Sinai, and was one of the pilgrim festivals of Judaism. When you look at the background of this festival it brings more meaning to the event in Acts chapter 2. When Israel celebrated Pentecost, they would relive the event of Moses giving them the law in Exodus chapter 19. This makes it especially noteworthy because it was on the day of Pentecost that God introduced the gift of tongues as a means of communicating the gospel in languages they could understand. Ellen white states, From every nation under heaven"4 who were gathered in Jerusalem. “Every known tongue was represented by those assembled. This diversity of languages would have been a great hindrance to the proclamation of the gospel; God therefore in a miraculous manner supplied the deficiency of the apostles. The Holy Spirit did for them what they could not have accomplished for themselves in a lifetime. They could now proclaim the truths of the gospel abroad, speaking with accuracy the languages of those for whom they were laboring.
It is evident that the gift given at Pentecost was known human languages that were immediately understood by members of the audience without need for interpreters. The word apophtheggomai ("gave them utterance"), while used in other Greek literature to refer to ecstatic utterance, is used by Luke three times in contexts that underscore clarity of speech and understanding. On the day of Pentecost the gift of tongues was given in order to provide the disciples with the proper tool for evangelizing the world. The apostles did not know all the languages that were represented in the multitude that day in Jerusalem, so by giving them tongues God supplied them with what they needed. From that time forward, wherever the apostles went, they had the ability to speak in foreign languages. Languages they could not have learned in a...
Bibliography: Bock, Darrel L. ACTS. Michigan: Baker Academics, 2007.
Holcomb, Justin. “Tongues in Acts.” IIIH Magazine, July 29, 2001.
Johnson, S. Lewis “The Gift of Tongues and the Book of Acts” Bibliotheca sacra 480 (1963), p 309-311.
Lowe, Harry W. Speaking in Tongues: A Brief History of the Phenomenon Known as Glossolalia, or Speaking in Tongues. Idaho: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1965.
White, Ellen G. The Acts of the Apostles. California: Pacific Press Publishing Association, 1911.
Yarnell, Malcolm B. Speaking of “Tongues,” What Does the Bible Teach? Texas: Center for Theological Research, 2006.
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