The True Meaning of Tongues in Pentecost

Pod Prep: 5-19-17



Many in the world assume emotional extremes are what God requires. Some fall on the floor
foaming at the mouth when the “spirit” falls on them. They are often out of control. Their arms flail wildly as the person repeats babbling of words in unknown language, energetically.
I was frightened by such a person as a child in a church service. Is there any scriptural backing for such actions in the New Testament? Pagans conducted themselves in similar emotional frenzies.

1Ki 18:26 And they took the bullock which was given them, and they dressed it, and called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped about the altar which was made.
27 And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud; for he is a god: either he is musing, or he is gone aside, or he is on a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth and must be awaked.
28 And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lances, till the blood gushed out upon them.
They also engaged in child sacrifice, usually of the first born, and ritual prostitution. These pagans made quite an emotional spectacle of themselves. Elijah the prophet made fun of them, and then after a short prayer, the true God delivered a demonstration of true power. God was not into all the hysterics of the priests of Baal. God with his spiritual gifts, does not support confusion and showy displays. Paul admonished the Corinthians on these points. We are not saying modern Pentecostals worship Baal, but just somewhat similar in tone. It is an exciting fun religious activity for some people.

1Co 14:32 and the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets;
33 for God is not a God of confusion, but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints,


What did the one hundred and twenty men and women receive on Pentecost? What we see at the birthday of the Church of God were some powerful special effects and the ability to communicate and inspire in an international crowd with many home languages.

Ac 2:3 And they saw tongues, like flames of fire, coming to rest on every one of them.
4 And they were all full of the Holy Spirit, and were talking in different languages, as the Spirit gave them power.
5 Now there were living at Jerusalem, Jews, God-fearing men, from every nation under heaven.
6 And when this sound came to their ears, they all came together, and were greatly surprised because every man was hearing the words of the disciples in his special language.

Note they heard them speaking in languages that they all could fully understand. For instance if you know a little French in France but, you prefer to hear a presentation in English which is your first and in some cases only competent language you would have. The pilgrims in Jerusalem for Pentecost from all over the world felt this way and were truly overwhelmed to hear their own language or tongue from these Galileans.

Ac 2:7 And they were full of wonder and said, Are not all these men Galileans?
8 And how is it that every one of us is hearing their words in the language which was ours from our birth?
9 Men of Parthia, Media, and Elam, and those living in Mesopotamia, in Judea and Cappadocia, in Pontus and Asia,
10 In Phrygia and Pamphylia, in Egypt and the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and those who have come from Rome, Jews by birth and others who have become Jews,
11 Men of Crete and Arabia, to all of us they are talking in our different languages, of the great works of God.


Christ told his disciples, after his forty days of time with them, after his rising from the dead that they should remain in Jerusalem until they received power. Pentecost is all about them receiving the power to do God's work on earth as a witness. If Christ was doing away with the biblical Holy
Days why give them this power on a Holy Day? He was clearly reinforcing the meaning of the first harvest Holy Day season.

Ac 1:8 But you will have power, when the Holy Spirit has come on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and all Judaea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
9 And when he had said these things, while they were looking, he was taken up, and went from their view into a cloud.

The gifts of the Spirit of God include understanding the truth and communicating it to world.

1Co 12:7 But to every man some form of the Spirit's working is given for the common good.
8 For to one are given words of wisdom through the Spirit; and to another words of knowledge through the same Spirit: 1Co 12:10 And to another the power of working wonders; and to another the prophet's word; and to another the power of testing spirits; to another different sorts of tongues; and to another the power of making clear the sense of the tongues:

The brethren were given the ability to understand and interpret the truth including mastery of foreign languages as needed to evangelize the world. It is clear that the gifts of God are given as God decides based on need.

1Co 12:30 Are all able to take away disease? have all the power of tongues? are all able to give them sense? 31 But let your desires be turned to the more important things given by the Spirit. And now I am pointing out to you an even better way.

A new chapter opened in our relationship with God- His power given- so that we can preach and glorify Him among all nations. The gifts of languages or tongues were given, but everyone did not receive these more showy gifts. But everyone should have the greatest gift which is LOVE. Read Chapter 13 for details.


GIFTS ARE NOT THE PRODUCT OF EMOTIONAL FRENZIES. Therefore what does the word of God say about this question ?

2Ti 1:6 For which cause I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee through the laying on of my hands. 7 For God gave us not a spirit of fearfulness; but of power and love and discipline.
Note that Paul speaks of using the spirit power with love and discipline. We wish to list a few key factors in achieving this recharging of the spirit gifts given to us by God. They are:

1. Deep repentance and a desire to change our hearts to be more like Christ.
2. Deep sincere PRIVATE prayer to draw us closer to God and his heart.
3. Deep enthusiastic utilization of whatever gifts are available to us.

Deep sincere repentance will help us obey God to a greater extent.

Ac 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and the rest of the apostles, Brethren, what shall we do?
38 And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit's access is dependent on repentance and the accompanying obedience to God. The more we repent and as time moves along on our Christian journey the more of the Holy Spirit we can stir up.

Deep heartfelt private prayer will draw us closer to God so we can utilize more of the spirit of God.

Mt 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
Prayer done publicly is not as effective because we may be doing it to appear righteous to others. Private prayer cannot have any ulterior motives. It is purer. Private talks with God are better for our spiritual growth. Pray thankfully and God will respond with more help from our comforter. Note John 14:14-15 and 15:26. Further see Eph. 6:18. Draw near to God in prayer and he will draw near to us.

Jer. 29:12 And ye shall call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. 13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

God wants us, in a deep way, to use the gifts that God had given us. He wants us to enthusiastically serve God and the other brethren with the gift of love and whatever other gifts he has specifically given us.
Col 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

Cycle thru repentance and prayer and energetic selfless service empowered by God's spirit and we will stir up the spirit.

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