Tongues were…

Real languages

  • Acts 1:6; 2:1-11
  • Acts 10:44-48
  • Glossa “tongue” (Acts 2:4, 11) vs. dialektos “language” (Acts 2:6,8)
  • I Corinthians 13:1 – Some argue they are speaking the tongues of angels, and thus, not to be understood. That is not the point Paul is making here.

To edify through understandable communication

  • I Corinthians 14:1-26 – If you speak in a tongue no one understands, you are not edifying others. Tongues were for a sing to unbelievers. Prophecy was a sign to believers.

Able to be controlled

  • I Corinthians 14:27-33 – Things were to be done in an orderly manner. “The spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.”

Limited to the first century

  • I Corinthians 13:8-10 – The spiritual gifts would cease, but love never fails. The “perfect” in I Corinthians 13:10 is teleos, meaning “complete.” When the full revelation of God was available (i.e., the full New Testament), spiritual gifts would go away. Spiritual gifts were like the scaffolding around the New Testament.

Compare Biblical teaching with modern-day practice

  • Is it a real language?
  • It is edifying others in the assembly because it is understandable communication?
  • Is it controlled?
  • No modern-day tongue-speaking is in the first century.