Monday: The Gift of Tongues

In Acts 2:4, the gift of the Spirit was manifested through speaking in tongues. Yet, this gift was only one of many different manifestations of the Spirit (Acts 10:45-46Acts 19:6). Others include foretelling the future (Acts 11:28), visions (Acts 7:55), inspired speech (Acts 2:8Acts 28:25), healing (Acts 3:6Acts 3:12Acts 5:12Acts 5:16), and qualification for service (Acts 6:3Acts 6:5).

The gift of tongues at Pentecost did not occur because it is the typical or the most important evidence of the endowment of the Spirit. It was manifested in order to launch the church’s world mission. That is, the calling given in Acts 1:8 required the gift of tongues. If the apostles were to cross cultural barriers and reach the ends of the earth with the gospel, they would need to be able to speak in the languages of those who needed to hear what they had to say.

Read Acts 2:5-12. What is the evidence that at Pentecost the apostles spoke in existing foreign languages?

It is estimated that in the first century there were eight to ten million Jews in the world and that up to 60 percent of them lived outside the land of Judea. Yet, many who were in Jerusalem for the feast were from foreign lands and could not speak Aramaic, the language of Judean Jews at that time.

There is no question that most converts at Pentecost were Jews from various lands who could now hear the gospel in their own native languages. That the apostles spoke in existing foreign languages, rather than in unknown ecstatic languages, is evidenced by the term dialektos (Acts 2:6Acts 2:8), which means language of a nation or a region (compare with Acts 21:40Acts 22:2Acts 26:14). Clearly, then, they were speaking in these different languages. The miracle was that simple Galileans could now speak a language that, even hours before, they did not know. For those local Jews who witnessed the scene but were not acquainted with these languages, the only possible explanation was that the apostles were drunk, uttering strange sounds that made no sense to them. “Some, however, made fun of them and said, ‘They have had too much wine’ ” (Acts 2:13, NIV).

A powerful manifestation of God is happening before their eyes, and yet these people think it is just drunkenness? How can we be careful not to be so spiritually blind ourselves?

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Source: Daily Sabbath School Lessons