Some people say they can speak in other tongues. In Greek tongues means a language. There are many who can speak more than one language. Some claim they have the gift of tongues of Acts chapter 2. Can this be true? Can you understand someone who says they are full of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues? The following is a short study on tongues based on the King James Version of the Bible.

Acts 2:1-11

V1 And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.

Accord means unanimously. They were all together thinking about the same thing.

V2 And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

The Holy Spirit enters the house they are in.

V3 And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

Cloven means to partition thoroughly. Tongues means a language, one naturally unacquired. What this tells us is that they were given the ability to speak more than one language at a time. Languages that before this day they could not speak.

V4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

The Holy Spirit gave them the words to say, they did not have to think of what to say. Here they are filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak other languages that they did not know how to speak before. An example would be some one that could only speak English now with the Holy Spirit could also speak Japanese.

V5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.

There were Jews from around the world that feared God living in Jerusalem at this time.

V6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.

Confounded means to throw (an assembly) into disorder, to perplex (the mind). Language means dialect. They were confounded because they understand what these men were saying in their own language, right down to the very dialect from where they were born. This is what the true gift of tongues is all about. When someone has the true gift of tongues from the Holy Spirit it does not matter where that person is from or that he or she could not have spoken your language before it happened. You will be able to understand everything they say right down to your very dialect from where you were born.

V7 And they were all amazed and marveled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?

The ones with the gift of tongues were from Galilee.

V8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?

Even though the ones with the gift of tongues were from Galilee, all those gathered there understood what they were saying in their own language.

V9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
V10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
V11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

This is a list of all the different places that the people came from. They had their own language that they spoke. This day was different, on this day they heard and understood men speaking in their language that could not speak their language before this day.

Let’s continue are study of tongues in I Corinthians.

I Corinthians 14:2-20

V2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

Remember that tongue means language. This is not talking about the gift of tongues of Acts chap 2 but just people speaking in their own language. No man understands him because they can not speak his language. If someone came up to me and started speaking Japanese it would be a unknown tongue (language) to me because I can only speak English. He speaks a mystery to me but not to God, He understands all languages.

V3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

A person that can reveal the truth in God’s word can build them up and give them comfort. There is no new prophecy that anyone can reveal today. Everything we need to know is in the Bible, Jesus said so. Let us take a look at what Jesus said.

Mark 13:23
V23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.

V4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.

A person that speaks in a unknown language is only building him or her self up because others can not understand them. A person that can reveal the truth in God’s word to others can build them up.

V5 I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

This tells us that it is better to be able to understand God’s word so your able to help others with what you have learned. Except for those people that can speak more than one language. That way they could interpret a teacher of God’s word that stopped by your church.

V6 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?
V7 And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?
V8 For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?
V9 So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.

This is saying that if your trying to teach some one and your not speaking their language what you are doing is useless. They will not understand you unless you have a interpreter with you. These verses are not talking about the gift of tongues of Acts chapter 2 but just are everyday language.

V10 There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification.

There are many different languages spoken in the world today and the all have a meaning to the ones that can understand that language.

V11 Therefore if I know not the meaning of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a barbarian, and he that speaketh shall be a barbarian unto me.

This is just saying that if you don’t speak the language of the people your trying to help you will be a foreigner to them. What your doing is not helping anyone.

V12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.

If you want a spiritual gift, seek to excel at building up the spiritual strength of your church with the truth of God’s word.

V13 Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.

If your teaching people that don’t understand your language, pray that some how they still might get the message that your trying to get across.

V14 For if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prayeth, but my understanding is unfruitful.

If your leading people in a prayer in a unknown language they will not understand you and it is unfruitful. That’s why you need a interpreter or pray to God that some how they will get the message.

V15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
V16 Else when thou shalt bless with the spirit, how shall he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest?

It is best to speak in a language that they will understand or else they will not even know when to say Amen.

V17 For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.

You may be doing a good job but if they don’t understand you it is not helping them.

V18 I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:
V19 Yet in the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue.

It’s best to say fewer words with understanding than a lot and they have no clue what your talking about.

V20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.

We are not to act and think as children but as adults.

The gift of tongues of Acts chapter 2 was real. When the Holy Spirit gives the true gift of tongues you will be able to understand what that person says right down to the very dialect from where you were born. If some one claims to have the gift of tongues of Acts chapter 2 and you can not understand them, they are lying. I have seen people on t.v that say they are speaking in other tongues like in Acts chapter 2 but I could not understand a thing they said. Which means that what they were doing was a con job. The Holy Spirit will give the true gift of tongues again when the antichrist comes to this earth and His elect are delivered up before him. They don’t have to think of what to say because the Holy Spirit will give them the words. If you hear someone say they are speaking in tongues like in Acts 2 and you can’t understand them, they are lying.