The Berean Expositor
Volume 52 - Page 143 of 207
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Speak with other Tongues (Acts 2: 4).
pp. 135 - 140
Tongues! Ecstatic utterances or languages? Languages of the earth or languages of
heaven? For use in public speaking or for private prayer? A sign to the unbelieving Jew
or confirmation of salvation to a believing Gentile? All these, and probably many more,
are the opinions of people on the purpose of tongues. There is so much dispute over this
subject and yet so little is said about it in Scripture. There is one verse in Mark's Gospel;
three short passages in the Acts of the Apostles and three chapters in I Corinthians. If
the Scriptural accounts are so few why is there such a divergence of views in Christian
circles about this subject? Why are there so many interpretations of what actually
happened and why it happened?
"In tongues movements, alleged experience and emotional excitement have attempted
to be a substitute for accurate teaching and clear exposition of Holy Scripture. The result
has been that the Word of God has been interpreted on the basis of human experience
instead of experience being interpreted on the basis of the Word of God" (Merril Unger,
New Testament Teaching on Tongues).
"Is experience wrong? Of course not. The Christian life is a love affair, `thou shalt
love the Lord thy God with all thy heart . . . . .'. Love is experiential, not theoretical. But
the Lord Jesus Christ gave the proper pattern in the Gospel of John, chapter eight, verse
thirty two, `ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free'. What that truth is,
is seen from the previous verse, `My word'. God's design is from truth to experience not
from experience to truth! The formula, `I have had an experience. I find experience like
mine in the Bible. Therefore my experience is Scriptural'' is dangerously misleading"
(George E. Gardiner, The Corinthian Catastrophe).
Peter experienced one of the greatest events ever seen.
He was there on the
mountain when the Lord's glory began to be shown and he refers to this in his epistle
(II.Pet.i.16-18).  However, Peter goes on to say, "we have also a more sure word of
prophecy" (verse 19).  To Peter, what the O.T. prophets had written was "more sure"
than what he had seen. Thus, like Peter, in this study on the subject of tongues, we will
start off with the Bible and keep rigidly to it throughout.
There are two words which are translated "tongues".
dialektos - language (English dialect) (Vine).
- a speaking through, or to and fro; hence language spoken by a people or
province, especially a dialect, peculiar idiom (Bullinger).
- a language of a nation or region (Bauer).
Here there is total agreement amongst these three experts. This word, dialektos,
occurs only six times in the N.T., all in Acts (1: 19; 2: 6, 8; 21: 40; 22: 2; 26: 14).
- is used of (1) the `tongues . . . like as of fire' which appeared at Pentecost.
(2) the tongue, as an organ of speech.