Acts 2:8

Friday, 29 October 2021

And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Acts 2:8

Note: You can listen to today’s introduction courtesy of our friends at “Bible in Ten” podcast. (Click Here to listen).

You can also read this commentary, with music, courtesy of our friends at “Discern the Bible” on YouTube. (Click Here to listen), or at Rumble (Click Here to listen).

The previous verse noted that those speaking were Galileans. Despite this, those listening now ask, “And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?” The word translated as “language” again signifies a dialect, and this may be the intent as one’s personal dialect is the most notable aspect of what one hears.

A person may be in the streets of Japan and hear three people speaking English, but if he hears one with his similar southern accent (say like one from Georgia), he will pick up on that first and foremost. However, in this case, the thought being conveyed may also extend to a particular language. This will be seen in verse 11 where the word glossa, or “tongue,” is used.

Either way, the point is that those who hear these Galileans can understand them speaking the language they were born into perfectly. With this display, the question arises concerning these languages. Are they actually spoken by the Galileans, or are the Galileans speaking in their own language but being understood by the hearers in their own language – as if they are translated by the Spirit into the ears of the hearers?

What seems likely is that the disciples are actually speaking in these other languages. If not, the miracle would be in the hearer and not in the speaker. As this is the case, it goes beyond what we experience with modern translators which take what we say (or type) and convert that language into a new target language. Instead, what is spoken comes directly from the source speaker while under the influence of the Spirit.

Life application: Those who hear the disciples speaking clearly acknowledge that the words are intelligible and perfectly spoken in their own native language (or dialect). In the coming verses, actual languages will be named to confirm this.

There is nothing in Scripture to justify the inane, incoherent ramblings of Charismatics and Pentecostals who make up (meaning they are not inspired to speak) false “tongues.” As tongues are a sign to unbelievers (1 Corinthians 14:22), the Spirit would not make that “sign” a nonsensical load of gibberish.

To understand Paul’s description of tongues as conveyed in 1 Corinthians 14, the full study is available in a line-by-line analysis on the Superior Word website or on the Superior Word YouTube channel. The conduct of those who participate in these false tongues is disgraceful, and it is disrespectful to the Spirit of God.

The Lord divided the languages of the world for His sovereign purposes. The Spirit of God united these people in this miraculous way on the first Pentecost as a sign that He approved of their faith in Christ. It was a demonstration of His ability to reunite humanity in Him once again, purifying their language according to His determination.

There will be other times that tongues will come upon believers as recorded in Acts. These occur at specific times and as an approval of the faith that was professed by those who believe. These are descriptive accounts, and they are not to be considered normative for the church age. And they certainly do not, nor will they ever, involve false tongues spoken in nonsensical gibberish.

Further, in the later use of tongues, as directed by Paul in the epistles (Paul’s words are the divinely inspired word of God), very specific directions for the speaking of tongues are given. When those instructions are not followed, it is evidence that it is not the Spirit who is inspiring them. The Spirit will never contradict Himself. As the word of God is Spirit inspired, such things that are not in accord with the word are not Spirit inspired. If they are not Spirit inspired, then who do you suppose is behind these false utterances?

Hold fast to the word, be obedient to it, and reject anyone who mars this precious gift by such false presentations.

Lord God, we are grateful to You for what You have done for us in Christ. You have established Your church, You have given us guidance in Your word, and You have provided us with everything we need to pursue You as is pleasing to You. Thank You for these things. Help us to be obedient to Your word, and to fix our eyes always on Jesus. Amen.