Baptism of the Holy Spirit-Lesson 9


Are Tongues for the Purpose of Preaching the Gospel?
There are those who believe that the main purpose for tongues is to preach the Gospel. They base this mainly on one passage of Scripture. We are going to look at this passage in context and then in our next lesson we will look at many other passages that have the word tongues or languages to see what the Bible says is the purpose of tongues.

Acts 2:1-21
1 When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.
2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.
3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
5 Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.
6 And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language.
7 They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans?
8 “And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born?
9 “Parthians and Medes and Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia,
10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,
11 Cretans and Arabs—we hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.”
12 And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”
13 But others were mocking and saying, “They are full of sweet wine.”
14 But Peter, taking his stand with the eleven, raised his voice and declared to them: “Men of Judea and all you who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you and give heed to my words.
15 “For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day;
16 but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel:
17 ‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS;
18 EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy.
19 ‘AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE.
20 ‘THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME.
21 ‘AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’

Acts 2:37-38
37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?”
38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit

Peter says that the event that took place is a fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel. So, it would make sense that we should take a look at what the prophecy of Joel says. In summation Joel says in the last days God will pour out His Spirit on all mankind and that they will prophesy and that all who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.

So what took place was the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy-that there would be the pouring out of God’s Spirit. What does this have to do with tongues? We will see later, but first let’s continue to look at the concept that tongues is for the purpose of preaching the Gospel.

Who were the people that heard their own language (dialect) being spoken?
5 Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven.
10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the districts of Libya around Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,

Vs 5 says they were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men. This would mean they are devout Jews. Devout Jews would speak Hebrew.
Vs 10 says there were visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes (those converted to a new faith).
We don’t know why they were in Jerusalem, but it would be safe to say that at least some were there for the Passover Feast and for the day of Pentecost. They would also be able to speak Hebrew since the services would be in Hebrew.

What was the common language in Jerusalem?
Along with Hebrew it was Aramaic, and the common Greek. Those living in Jerusalem, regardless of their heritage, would know one of these languages. It would be the same as those from other countries that live in or visit the U.S. They have their own language or dialects. But they also speak English. When Jesus preached in the various regions, some mentioned in the verses, He obviously did not need interpreters. Neither did Paul, Peter, Philip (He spoke to the Ethiopian without an interpreter) need interpreters even though they went to the various regions.

What did those who spoke other languages saying?
They were speaking of the mighty deeds of God (one of the mighty deeds would be of them speaking in languages they did not know). They were not specifically sharing the Gospel. Who shared the Gospel? It was Peter. Over 3,000 people got saved. There is no reference at all of others interpreting for Peter. Since Peter said Joel was being fulfilled, it would make sense that they were probably prophesying.

Acts 2:41-43
41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.
42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe; and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles.

The above verses state they were continually devoting themselves to teaching and fellowship. It would be safe to assume that many of the 3,000 were part of this group because Jesus commanded the disciple to make disciples. They would not have been born again and not be discipled. What language was the teaching in? What language were they speaking when in fellowship? Their own dialects, or the common languages spoken in Jerusalem.

When the apostles went to other countries to share the Gospel what language were they speaking? There is not one single instance of there being interpreters. History states that common Greek was spoken in many of the countries.

1Cor 14:2
For one who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God; for no one understands, but in his spirit he speaks mysteries.

We will be doing a study on 1 Cor 14, but notice this verse. It says that one who speaks in tongues is speaking to God, not man, because no one understands the tongues spoken. So, that would mean tongues is not for the purpose of preaching the Gospel.

Conclusion

  • Peter says the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy was taking place on the day of Pentecost
  • Joel states there would be the pouring out of the Holy Spirit
  • There was the pouring out of the Holy Spirit and tongues were spoken
  • Those who were speaking in other languages were speaking on the mighty deeds of God-one of those deeds would be that those who were baptized in the Holy Spirit were speaking in unknown tongues
  • Peter shared the Gospel and 3,000 were born again
  • Those living in Jerusalem or coming to Jerusalem for the feast of Passover and the day of Pentecost would understand Hebrew, Aramaic, and/or common Greek-no need to hear the Gospel in another language
  • Many of those who were saved were also being taught and having fellowship-they would be taught in a common language, not in various dialects

From the passages of the Bible we have looked at so far, there was no need for the Gospel to be preached in various dialects, thus tongues was not given to preach the Gospel. It would appear that tongues was given as a sign of wonders and miracles and as proof that something happened miraculously when the 120 were baptized in the Holy Spirit.

In our next lesson we will look at other instances of tongues and unknown languages to see why they were given by God. We will see if they are any other passages that would give credence to the belief that tongues were given for the preaching of the Gospel.

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