“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all. For to one is given …by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the working of miracles…to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.” 1 Cor.12:7-10. “…Are all workers of miracles? Do all have gifts of healings? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret?” 1 Cor.12:29-30.
“And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Acts 2:4
“To another different kinds of tongues”. 1 Cor.12:10.
“Do all speak with tongues?” 1 Cor.12:30.
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.” 1 Cor.13:1.
“… Whether there are tongues, they will cease.” 1 Cor.13:8.
“He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself.” 1 Cor.14:4.
A Discourse on Speaking in Tongues
This issue of Pastoral Letter is a continuation and a further elaboration (by no means exhaustive) of the introduction begun in the last Letter. There is unanimity by all scholars, Greek language experts and the Pentecostals that all the three passages in the book of Acts, 2:4; 10:46;19:6 which record speaking in tongues are referring to known languages. Such being the case, there is therefore a validity to introduce the Law of First Mention and apply its principle in understanding the meaning of tongues in 1Corinthians 12,13 and14. The Law of First Mention in Hermeneutics maintains that the first time any important word or term is used in the Bible, the Scripture gives that word or term its most complete and accurate meaning and understanding which it retains in other passages of the Scripture until the meaning is otherwise changed.
In 1 Corinthians, as indicated above, Paul made several references to speaking in tongues, especially in chapter14. A sound exegetical study of the three passages makes it evident that the spiritual gift that is the subject of discussion in all three passages is the same. Moreover, it is also evident that the spiritual gift which is the subject of discussion is the same as recorded by Luke in the book of Acts. It should be borne in mind that1Corinthians is Paul’s response to both the report that was brought to him by some members of the Corinthian church, and a letter, also from the church, about the multiple problems simmering in their midst. (1 Cor.1:11-13; 5:1; 7:1; 8:1; 10:1; 11:3-16,17-34. Among these problems is the understanding and the proper use of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, especially speaking in tongues. 12-14.
What Is Speaking in Tongues (Glossolalia?)- An Examination of The Biblical Data.
Although there are those, based on a weak interpolation, “unknown,” which appears in several verses of 1 Corinthians 14, maintain that some “speaking in tongues” is ecstatic. But the three passages in Acts that introduce speaking in tongues unanimously maintain that speaking in tongues is a known and commonly understandable language. This interpolation is an editorial opinion not found in the oldest and best Greek manuscripts hence it is in italics. That is the reason that some of the major versions such as NKJV, ASV, NASB, HCSB, AMP, RV, and NIV all omit “unknown” to maintain the true meaning of the word “tongues” glossa.
Besides the translation correction by modern versions, there is strong internal evidence in KJV itself that supports modern versions. The interchangeable use of “unknown” and its absence in reference to tongues in 1 Corinthians 14 tends to lend support that both “tongues” mean one and the same. Cf.14:2,4,5,6,9,13,14,18,19,21,22,23,27. With the absence of “unknown”, The passage reads smoothly with reference to tongues. In addition to the correction of this interpolation, the case against ecstatic language is intrinsic in 1 Corinthians 14.Cf. 6-11. Paul illustrates tongues with known languages. if he meant ecstatic language, he would not equate it known languages. Such would be like comparing apples with oranges. The fact of his comparing tongues with known languages is a clear indication that ecstatic speech is not in the picture.
The fact of his comparing tongues with known languages is a clear indication that ecstatic speech is not in the picture.
Further, Paul alludes to the prophecy of Isaiah 28:11-12, “ For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people, To whom He said, “This is the rest with which you may cause the weary to rest, and “This is the refreshing” Yet they would not hear.” 1 Cor.14:21. This prophecy is referring to the impending conquering and carrying away into captivity of the Northern Kingdom by the Assyrians in 722 BC. Of course, the “tongue” referred to is the language of the Assyrians-a known language. So clearly, it is evident that in the mind of Paul, that when he mentions speaking in tongues, he is clearly referring to a known language. In contemporary jargon, Paul is “comparing apples to apples.”
Some tongues advocates have often cited 1 Corinthians 13:1 “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels” as a proof-text for ecstatic language. This is another typical example of wresting and twisting of Scriptures out of context. By mentioning “tongues of angels,” Paul was hypothetically speaking. He was not assuming that “tongues of angels” exists. He is using the term as a hyperbole, a common figure of speech. In essence, Paul was saying that, even if there were angelic language, and he could speak it, but lack love, it would profit nothing.
The Bible nowhere indicates that there is such a thing as tongues of angels or angelic language.
There are several accounts both in the Old and New Testaments of angels speaking to humans. In neither of the occasions was there an indication of speaking in none other than a known language. This includes when they are worshipping God. Gen.18:1-9; 19:1-21; Dan.7:16-27; 8:13-26; 9:21-27; Lu.1:11-20,26-38; 2:8-14; Acts 10:3-7,22,30-33; 12:7-10; 27:23-24; Rev.4:6-8;5:8-14; 10:5-6.
The above example illustrates the error and futility of formulating a doctrine or practice based on a wrong interpretation of the Scripture. It is untenable to rely on a doctrine or practice based on a slippery slope and misperception of the Scriptures.
Are There Genuine Speaking in Tongues Today?
The onus of proving the validity of genuine speaking in tongues as operational in the church today lies with its advocates. As has shown above, the “proof-texts upon which the so -called ecstatic language is based are porous and untenable, so also are the ones often presented to support speaking in tongues itself. The failure to do a diligent study of the Scriptures nor to accept the finding of those who have labored to exegete the truth, has led to randomly and carelessly attributing to certain Scripture passages an understanding that is far from their meaning. The following are some of the texts that have been used to argue for modern tongues speaking. Acts.4:31” And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the Word of God with boldness.”
To argue for speaking in tongues based upon this verse is simply an inference or argument from silence, for the text neither says so nor does it indicate speaking in tongues (glossolalia). Rom.8:26. “Likewise the Spirit helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” This passage states that it is the Spirit, not the believer, who groans. That “which cannot be uttered” is not described nor can it be ecstatic or any language, otherwise it would violate the very statement itself. Another that is more frequently cited is Ephesians 6:18. “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit.” In this passage, Paul is emphasizing the importance of the mind engaging the Spirit during prayer, especially in spiritual warfare which is the main point of the passage.
Passages such as 1 Thessalonians 5:19-20 have been taken as allusion to speaking in tongues. Again, as evident from a proper understanding, none of the “proof-texts” is in line nor supports the position of the tongue’s advocates. Logically, given the inconsistency and the shifting sand upon which the arguments of the tongue’s advocates are based, one is left with no option than to conclude that the operation of the sign gift of tongues is not normative today. This conclusion is based upon the objective data drawn from Acts and 1 Corinthians 12-14. (A critical and expository examination of 1 Corinthians 14 will be the subject of a future Pastoral Letter.
Tongues- Ecstatic or A Known Language?
Although the answer to this question has been discussed, yet it is important to shed more light on it. The reason being that besides the controversy about tongue-speaking in general, the nature or its essence presents a controversy of its own. The debate is based upon seemingly mystical elements which Paul introduced in 1 Corinthians 14 in his trying to explain and lay out guidelines for the exercise of the gift in the local Church. Statements like “For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.”1 Cor.14:2. and “For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful…I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.” 1Cor.14:14-15 have led some people to conclude that Paul was implying that some tongue speaking can be in the form of ecstatic utterance. This position is not exclusively held by those in the Pentecostal Movement or tongues speaking advocates.
Glossa- Its Meaning in The New Testament
A survey of some well-known Greek Lexicons unequivocally attests that the meaning of glossa extends beyond known languages to include unintelligible, mysterious, or ecstatic utterances. This is truer when applied to the practice in non-Christian and Mystery religions. However, notwithstanding this indisputable fact, the meaning of glossa in the New Testament can only be determined by its usage by Biblical writers. This again calls for the application of the Law of First Mention as described in the three passages in Acts discussed earlier were speaking in tongues first occurred. Dr. Robert G. Gromacki renders this helpful explanation,” A study of the New Testament usage of glossa will reveal the fact that when used of the phenomenon of speaking in tongues it always refers to foreign languages. It cannot refer to both foreign and unknown ecstatic languages as the modern tongues’ advocates claim.”
Dr. Gromacki provided further help by listing the several occurrences where glossa is variously used of the physical organ which gave forth audible, known sounds of various human languages (Mk.7:33,35; Lk.1:64; Acts 2:26; Rom.3:13;14:11; 1Cor.14:9; Phil.2:11; Jas.1:26;3:5-6,8; 1Pet.3:10; Rev.16:10). The organ of the intermediate body (Lk.16:24) that spoke intelligible known language. It is also used as a denotation for an ethnic group or peoples (Rev.5:9; 7:9). Another principle of Hermeneutics that Dr. Gromacki pointed out is that “Meanings in obscure passages must always be determined by meanings in clear passages.” He then remarked “The very fact that glossa is used over and over to designate the organ of the content of and the groups denoted by known languages should be a strong determinative factor in fixing the meaning of the term when used of the phenomenon of speaking in tongues.
The use of Kainos in describing tongue speaking in the often-disputed passage of Mark 16:9-20 is significant. In that passage, it is predicted that believers would “speak with new tongues” glossais lalesousin kainais . Well known Greek Lexicons render kainos as new primarily with reference to quality, the fresh or unworn, not new in time or recent, but “new” as to for or quality. Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words equates the “new tongues” kainos of verse Mark 16:17 as the same “ other tongues heterais glossais of Acts 2:4. With reference to Acts 2:4, Vine further explains, “ These languages, however were ‘new’ and ‘different’ not in the sense that they had never been heard before, or that they were new to the hearers, because it is plain from v.8 that this is not the case; they were new languages to the speakers, different from those in which they were accustomed to speak.”
In support of this explanation, Dr Gromacki states,” Therefore, if speaking in tongues had involved unknown languages never spoken before, Christ would have used neos (new in time) (a synonym of Kainos). But since He used kainos, this must refer to foreign languages which were new to the speaker, but which had been in existence before…there must be a good reason why kainos, not neos, was used. The fact that the disciples did speak in known, foreign languages on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:4,6,8,11) would support this distinction and conclusion.” This much evidence should be sufficient to finalize that though the meaning of glossa extends to unintelligible, mysterious, or ecstatic utterances, but in the New Testament, when referring to speaking in tongues, its meaning is strictly confined to known human languages.
A Look at Tongue Speaking (Glossalalia) Through History
The first occurrence of speaking in tongues (glossolalia) in the New Testament did not happen until the day of Pentecost. Acts 2:4. And subsequently in Caesarea Acts 10:44 and in Ephesus Acts 19:6. Perhaps even earlier in Samaria Acts 8:17? But glossolalia is a practice known in antiquity. Not all the reports, however, are to be accepted without thorough examination, consideration, and scrutiny. In studying the phenomena as manifested or exhibited by the different religions, it should not be assumed that it therefore amounts to equating or likening them as the same with Biblical tongue speaking or the practice of the modern Pentecostal movement.
The study is only to demonstrate that the phenomenon of glossolalia is not exclusive to Christianity. The Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements states, “Whatever its origin, glossolalia is a human phenomenon not limited to Christianity or even to religious behavior among humankind.” The Dictionary went further and delineated about four of what it labeled non-Christian varieties of glossolalia, viz Dramatic glossolalia, Spiritualistic, Pathological glossolalia, and Pagan glossolalia. Biblical glossolalia which is of divine origin is the focus of this Pastoral Letter and the preceding ones. Non-Christian glossolalia derive their origin from secular, psychological, sociological, or directly from satanic sources.
The following historical account leans heavily on the excellent work of Dr. Gromacki-The Modern Tongues Movement.
Report of Wenamon: This document is the most ancient account of ecstatic religious utterance. It was given in a frenzied mood. It dates back to 1100 B.C in Byblos on the coast of Syro-Palestine. In the account, a young worshipper of Amon became possessed by a god and began to speak in an ecstatic manner. The text reads: “Now when he sacrificed to his gods… the god seized one of his noble youths, making him frenzied, so that he said: Bring the god hither! ‘Bring the messenger of Amon who hath him. Send him and let him go.’ “This frenzy continued into the night.” Without a question, this is a typical example of pagan glossolalia.
Dialogues of Plato: The Greek philosopher, Plato, 429-347 B.C, mentioned several instances of ecstatic speech associated with religious worship in his writings. In the Phaedrus, he writes about some families that went into ecstatic utterances while engaged in prayers and religious rites. The participants seemed to be possessed and to have lost the control of their minds. Plato wrote that going into frenzy like this ultimately brings healing to the individuals involved. He also said similar possession characterize the Oracle of Delphi and the priestess of Dodona when they receive answer from the gods.
In another dialogue, Ion, Plato wrote that good poets receive inspiration from God when they write. He stated that God takes away their minds and uses them as channels. Plato went further and stated that poets are in a state of unconsciousness as God takes away their mind and fills it with His word. Plato likened the poets to the Corybantian revellers who became ecstatic in both utterance and action and to the Bacchic maidens of the cult of Dionysius.
In Timaeus, Plato wrote that when a person receives inspiration from the gods, his mind and intelligence are engulfed in sleep or unconsciousness. Then he begins to make utterances accompanied by visions that after the sacred duty is over and he regains consciousness, he cannot remember any word of his utterances.
Virgil: The Roman poet, Virgil,70-19B.C, wrote about the Sibylline priestess of the island of Delos. He described her as transforming into an ecstatic state and utterance in a haunted cave which was filled with wind sounds and weird noises and strange music. As the noise and sounds escalate, the priestess gradually unites with the god Apollo, and suddenly, she begins to speak with tongues in coherent, and sometimes incoherent words.
Pythoness of Delphi (Oracle of Delphi): This oracle was located on Mt Parnassus which is the home base of the famous Greek god Apollo. It was the most famous of all the Greek oracles in the fifth century B.C. The name of the priestess is Pythia. The priestess performed her divination while sitting on a tripod and the evil spirit would gradually enter and possess her whole being and she begins to hear voices and answers to questions that people brought to Apollo. She is described as seemingly raving with madness, her hair becoming disheveled and foaming at her mouth. And in the frenzy, she makes utterances, some of which are ambiguous and seemingly contradictory.
Mystery Religions: Mystery religious practices were rife in the Greco-Roman world. Cults such as Osiris in Egypt, The Mithra cult in Persia and others as the Eleusynian, Dionysian and Orphic cults which have Greek origin. Cases of clear glossolalia have been documented among many of them. Lucian of Samosata 120-198 AD writes about a clear case of glossolalia by the worshippers of the Syrian goddess, Juno. Gerhard Kittel states that similar phenomena have been displayed by the devotees of the cult of Dionysius.
Muslims: Ecstatic speech has also been reported to exist among some elements of the Islamic religion. This is common among the Dervish or Sufis who practice mystical form Islam. It is reported that often when they utter the name of Allah, it is accompanied by violent shaking, falling into trances, and foaming at the mouth. In the process, they enter a state of frenzy and ecstasy and begin to preach moral sermons.
The Eskimos of Greenland: These have also been said to practice speaking in tongues. Their service is led by a medicine man, or a priest known as angakok. In their service, they attempt to connect with the dead. The ritual involved drum beating, singing, dancing, and nudity by both men and women. They then go into ecstasy and begin to speak in tongues and ecstatic utterances.
As this brief survey has shown, speaking in tongues is not unique to Christianity, but predates it. But as stated earlier, these various expressions of glossolalia and ecstatic utterances are not the same or comparable to the Biblical model. In fact, there is a world of difference between the two. Whereas Biblical tongues speaking is divinely inspired, the expressions in pagan practices, non-Christian and Mystery religions are counter opposite, and either psychological, pathological, or satanic.
Speaking in tongues as a sign gift was given for specific reasons and occasions as the record of the book of Acts demonstrates.
The Biblical Model of Speaking in Tongues and Their Purposes
The following passages in Acts record the clear expressions of Biblical tongues speaking, Acts 2:1-13;10:44-48;19:1-7. In the opinion of some scholars, there is a likelihood that the same was the case in 8:5-19. An examination of these passages will now follow.
Acts 2:1-13 – The first occurrence of speaking in tongues in the New Testament was on the day of Pentecost. “When the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues as of fire and sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” 1-4. This unprecedented phenomenon is clearly attributed to the work of the Holy Spirit. This is the manifestation of speaking in tongues(glossolalia) in its purest form. It sets the model for all the subsequent occurrences. Like the Law of first Mention, the speaking in tongues of the day of Pentecost, is the template for judging any Biblical tongues speaking. It was impromptu and involuntary. They were clearly known and understood languages. The tongues speaking was a credible testimony to the Jewish crowd some of whom thought the disciples to be under wine intoxication, that a genuine manifestation of God’s power was at work.v.7-8,13-15. Peter used it as a basis for his sermon by pointing to its historic prophetical roots. Acts 2:16-21. It is then clear that the speaking in tongues on the day of Pentecost, as a sign gift, was for the authentication of the disciples and their message.
Acts 8:5-19 – The incident here often called “The Samaritan Pentecost” happened during a revival in the city of Samaria. It was the result of Phillip’s preaching. While the account omits speaking in tongues, it is the speculation of some scholars that it might have occurred. This is based on the statement “And when Simon saw that through the laying of hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, ‘Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.’” v.18-19.
In the case of the Samaritans, the receiving of the Holy Spirit was sovereignly withheld when they believed and were baptized by Phillip for a particular reason. The Samaritans were a mixed breed of Jews and Gentiles whose origin began with the conquering of the Northern kingdom of Israel by the Assyrians in 722 B.C. 2 Kgs.17:24-33. The Jews greatly despised the Samaritans and would have no dealings with them. Lk.9:52-53; Jn.4:9,19-22. With the birth of the Church on the day of Pentecost, God began a new program of uniting humanity into a new entity which Paul calls one new man by removing the barriers and wall of separation which caused division and enmity. Eph.2:14-16. Since God has set the apostles as the leaders of this new creation (The church), it became necessary that the apostle’s superintendent over every initiation into this new body.
It was for this reason therefore that Peter and John were sent to Samaria. “Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen on none of them. They had only been baptized in the name the Lord Jesus. v.14-16. Dr. John MacArthur provides this helpful insight.” This was a transitional period in which confirmation by the apostles was necessary to verify inclusion of a new group of people into the church. Because of the animosity that existed between the Jews and Samaritans, it was essential for the Samaritans to receive the Holy Spirit in the presence of the leaders of the Jerusalem church, for the purpose of maintaining a unified church. The delay also revealed the Samaritans’ need to come under apostolic authority.”
This explanation therefore debunks the false notion that believers receive the Holy Spirit or the so-called “baptism of the Spirit” (the third work of grace) after salvation.
Acts 10:44-48; 11:13-18 – The occurrence of speaking in tongues in the house of Cornelius in Caesarea is one of the key passages used by tongues advocates to justify “speaking in tongues” as an outward sign of “baptism of the Spirit.” Properly understood, this incident has been rightly called “The Gentile Pentecost” Peter who was the instrument used to bring it to pass, later used the outward signs of speaking in tongues as his strongest proof to justify the baptizing of the Gentiles.
As explained earlier, during this transitional period of the newly birthed church, it was God’s sovereign purpose that the apostles superintend over the initiation of the different classes of humanity into the church. It was more so for the Gentiles whom the prejudiced and skeptical Judaizers would not accept as equal members in the new spiritual community. Peter, himself was not an exception to the same attitude prior to this special mission. Acts 10:9-15; 11:4-9. Days later, when Peter was answering to the criticism of his fellow Jews regarding his baptizing the Gentiles, he gave the following defense. “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, as upon us at the beginning. Then I remembered the word of the Lord, how He said, ‘John indeed baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit. If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?” When they heard these things, they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, ‘Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.” Acts. 11:15-18.
As Peter’s defense indicates, speaking in tongues in the house of Cornelius was the definitive sign of initiation into the Body of Christ of the Gentiles hitherto despised by the Jews. It is also without a doubt that the “tongues” spoken was a known language.” For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God.” Acts 10:46. Without the outward sign of speaking in tongues as on the day of Pentecost, it is doubtful that any other reasoning or explanation could have proved satisfactory to those of the circumcision group. Even for Peter himself, that was the most and perhaps, the only convincing proof. “Can anyone forbid water, that these should be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have? “Acts 10:47.
Acts 19:1-7- This is the last incident of speaking in tongues in the book of Acts. This involves a minority and yet distinct segment of people in the New Testament. They are said to have known only of the baptism of John. So, in all likelihood, they could be called followers of the Old Dispensation. The preaching and baptism of John served as a preparatory for the coming Messiah. The baptism of John was the Old Testament rite of initiation which prepared both the Jews and Gentiles for the reception of the Gospel. “Then Paul said, John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.” V.4.
The New Testament baptism is the believers’ baptism which is subsequent to regeneration and true faith in Christ. Those twelve disciples knew nothing about it nor have heard about the Holy Spirit with whom the true disciples had been baptized beginning on the day of Pentecost, more than twenty years prior to this encounter. Because they were believers in the Old Dispensation, their re-baptism presumes that having heard Paul, they then believed in the Messiah of whom John had taught them, v.4 and as New Testament believers, were qualified for the New Testament baptism and initiation into the new spiritual community.
Just as in the preceding occasions, their speaking in tongues was validating evidence that their membership in the Body of Christ was on a par with that of the apostles, Samaritans, and Gentiles. Once again, it should be noted that their “tongues” was a plain language, nothing ecstatic. One commonality that should also be noted about all the occurrences of speaking in tongues in Acts is their voluntary nature. On no occasion did any of the groups specifically pray and ask to speak in tongues. Speaking in tongues in each of the occurrences was extemporaneous.
In conclusion, I am constrained to share the following testimony which original source is presently inaccessible to me. Back in the 1980s, I had a free subscription to a monthly magazine by a mega Baptist Church in Houston, Texas. In 1985, the magazine published a story of an incident that occurred when the youth from the Church went on a routine witnessing in a remote village in Mexico. The witnessing team found themselves in the isolated mountainous environment and surrounded by villagers who could neither speak nor understand Spanish. They felt at a loss on how to share the Gospel as the villagers showed eagerness to listen to them.
Then their chaperone summoned the team to huddle for prayer to ask God to send someone who could interpret Spanish to the villagers. Suddenly, following the prayer, instead of an interpreter, the entire team began speaking the local dialect of the villagers- a language that they have never heard before. This strange phenomenon went on for some hours as they went from one slum dwelling to another and in the village square witnessing to the villagers. When they completed their witnessing, they entered the Church van to return to Houston. And gradually, one by one, none of them could speak or remember a word of the local language. This phenomenon was never repeated.
The next Pastoral Letter will continue the examination of speaking in tongues from the post-Apostolic period to post-Reformation era and finally conclude with an assessment of speaking in tongues in the light of Biblical models. Besides the brief survey of the practice of glossolalia in pagan, non-Christian and mystery religions, the main thrust of this Letter has been to present a biblical viewpoint on the meaning or definition of speaking in tongues. The biblical models as recorded by Luke in Acts invariably indicate that “tongues” (glossa) consistently retains the same meaning, (known language) throughout the New Testament. Paul follows the same pattern in 1 Corinthians 12-14 in his long discourse on Spiritual gifts, especially in correcting the misuse of the gift of speaking in tongues. The problem that Paul was setting straight in 1 Corinthians 12-14 is the misuse of the biblical models of speaking in tongues recorded in Acts. An exegetical examination of 1 Corinthians 14 will be the subject of a future Pastoral Letter. The models of speaking in tongues in Acts is the definitive model of biblical speaking in tongues.