By Cooper Abrams

I will begin with a personal note. Some very sincere Christians, who truly love the Lord, believe that speaking in tongues is a valid gift from God today. It is not my intent to be condemning or rude, but with a loving and caring spirit I am seeking to present God's truth to people who have been ill-taught concerning this matter. There is surely a need to do so. I think all would agree that God can only bless Truth. He can not, nor will He ever bless error no matter how well intended or sincere it may be. Thus it is important to know what God has said in His Word and reject all false teachings.

There is no middle of the road approach to the tongues issue. If tongues is a valid gift in the church today then every Bible believing church should follow the God's Word and speak in tongues. However, if it is not a valid gift for the body of Christ today, then we should teach the truth and reject it.

Many denominations take the middle of the road approach refusing to take a stand either way. They have compromised with both parties trying not to offend anyone. By not taking a stand they have in fact condoned the practice. To not take a stand against any teaching that is contrary to what the Bible says is in fact standing with it. God did not give us His Word to be confusing. Many people however take the approach that the Word of God is confusing on the matter and that we cannot really know for sure what is right. This surely expresses a poor opinion of God, that His Word to us is too confusing to understand. However, this is not the case. God did not leave the matter in discord. The problem is not with God's Word, but the problem is with man. God spoke very clearly on the matter, yet many seem unwilling to listen, preferring rather to listen to the teaching of men and denominations.

What Does the Bible Says About Tongues?

The question that needs answering is this - what does the Bible say? The problem is not to try to explain experiences that people have had, but to determine, "what does God say on the matter." If God's Word says that tongues is a valid gift for today then the matter is settled. If it teaches that tongues ceased after the establishment of the early church and after the fall of Judaism then the course is equally clear, tongues should be abandoned.

Will we seek to answer a series of questions which will address the issue. I. Is the practice of the gift of tongues the same as it was in the New Testament?

A. Absent today from the modern practice of tongues is "a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto the cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them." (Acts 2:3-4) Further, each of those present at Pentecost were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the Gospel in a language that the person had not learned. "Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language. (Acts 2:6) Verses 9-11 lists the sixteen languages which were spoken. These Jewish pilgrims had come to Jerusalem to celebrate the Feast of Pentecost, as they had been done for centuries. God wanted the Jews to hear the "wonderful works of God." (Acts 2:11) The Jewish leaders in Jerusalem had rejected Jesus as the promised Messiah. Many of these pilgrims, being only recent visitors to Jerusalem, did not know about Jesus Christ and what He did.

These Jewish pilgrims surely could understand Greek and Aramaic. It was not necessary for them to hear the news of Christ's coming in the language of the nation in which they lived. The disciples gathered in the upper room who were indwelled by the Holy Spirit could have spoken Greek or Aramaic and communicated with these pilgrim Jews. The reason for the miracle (sign) was God bringing attention to the prophecy of Joel 2:28f. Tongues was a special sign gift, given to the Galilean disciples to show the unbelieving Jews that Jesus whom they had crucified was indeed the Messiah. Note in Peter's sermons that is exactly what he preached. The Jews fully understood that Joel prophesied of great destruction of the judgment of God in the Tribulation. In Joel 2:28, deliverance in the "last days" is promised and associated with a great outpouring of the Spirit of God. Peter made the connection that they were indeed in the "last days" and that God had sent Jesus Christ as their Deliverer and they rejected Him. God told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem "for the promise of the Father, which saith He, ye have heard of me." (Acts 2:4) The promise of the Father was that they would be, "baptized with the Holy Spirit" and "ye shall receive power, after the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 2:5,8)

They waited ten days in the upper room and as promised on the day of Pentecost God sent the Holy Spirit who indwelled them and gave them power to be witnesses that Jesus was truly the Messiah. The message was heard by these visiting Jewish pilgrims and about three thousand of them believed and were saved. They were not under the influence and denomination of the Jewish leaders of Jerusalem and they heard the Gospel unhindered by the lies of the priests, Scribes and Pharisees. Note also that the Bible says these were "devout men, out of every nation under heaven." These were saved, God fearing Jews who came to Jerusalem to worship God. They believed in God and when they heard the Messiah being proclaimed in their nature tongues by unlearned men, they knew that this was of God and they accepted Him. Jesus in John 8:19 said to the Pharisees in the temple in Jerusalem, ". . . Ye neither know me, nor my Father: if ye had known me, ye should have known my Father also." (John 8:19) What a contrast between these two groups. One group had witnessed first hand the miracles and message of Jesus Christ, but had rebelliously rejected Him as their Messiah. This other group of Jews, who came from out of town, already loved God, and when they heard of Christ believed and they too received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God and became part of the bride of Christ. They then took the message back to their native lands. Clearly, God used the miracle sign gift of languages (tongues) so that each one of them heard the Gospel, the death, burial and resurrection of Christ in their own language and understood that Jesus was the promised Messiah.

Why did God present the Gospel to them in this way?

We can better understand this if we consider what Paul said about the Jews in 1 Corinthians 1:22, "For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:" God has throughout the history of Israel always used signs to speak His Word to them. All those who heard the Gospel on the Day of Pentecost were Jews or Jewish proselytes. They believed because they witnessed the unmistaken sign miracle of hearing men who had not learned their language speaking to them in their native tongue. This was the reason that God used this method to tell them of the Messiah and the reason for using the sign gift of tongues. The Bible says that tongues was accompanied by three supernatural acts, the sound of the mighty rushing wind, the appearance of cloven tongues of fire and the speaking the Gospel in a language the men had not learned. The first two are conspicuously absent from what is practiced as tongues today. Although it is claimed that modern languages are being spoken by those who practice tongues, it is very difficult to verify. However, even if a language were to be spoken, the other two supernatural acts a absent today. There is no sign of a mighty rushing wind or cloven tongues of fire. One must conclude then that tongues as described by the Word of God on the day of Pentecost is not what is happening today. There are only three examples in Scripture that describes tongues and they each are identical with the first occurrence. There is no example in the Bible of tongues being used as a prayer language or anything different than what happen on the Day of Pentecost and the two other recorded occurrences.

B. The second times tongues is mentioned in Scripture is three years later in Acts 10:44-48. Cornelius, a Roman Centurion, after hearing and believing the Gospel as Peter preached, experienced the same exact circumstances as did those on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2. Peter reported back to the Jewish believers and said, "Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?" (Acts 11:17) Peter says God gave them the "like (literally the "same") gift as he did unto us." What happened at Cornelius' house was the same as on the Day of Pentecost. Cornelius was a Gentile who had been proselytized to Judaism. He was "A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway." (Acts 10:2) God sent an angel to him and told him to, ". . . send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:" (Acts 10:5) The next day God prepared Peter to preach the Gospel to a Gentile. The Jews thought of the Gentiles as being unclean and a very low class of people. Peter saw in a vision God lowering down unclean animals in a great sheet and God told him to, "Rise, Peter; kill, and eat." But Peter said, "Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean." (Acts 10:13-14) God replied, "What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common." (Acts 10:15) God thus prepared Peter to preach Christ to Cornelius. As Peter wondered about his vision, Cornelius's servants arrived at his house. Peter then returned the next day with the men to Joppa to Cornelius' home. Peter as recorded in Acts 10:25-43, told him of the Lord Jesus and Cornelius received Christ. Acts 10:44, says that all who heard the word received the Holy Spirit. Note that "they of the circumcision" meaning the Jews, were astonished that these Gentiles had received the gift of out pouring of the Holy Spirit and they too did speak in tongues and magnified God. (Acts 10:45-48) When Peter returned to Jerusalem he reported to the Jewish believers there, "Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life." (Acts 11:17-18) What happened to the Gentile Cornelius and his household, was the exact same thing that happened on the day of Pentecost. "And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning." (Acts 11:15)

Here again the gift of tongues was a sign to the Jews back in Jerusalem that the Gentiles had received Christ the same as had the Jews in Jerusalem. One thing is clear, those that received the gift began to speak the Gospel to those around them. Acts 10:45, says, "And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost." It greatly impressed the Jews (they of the circumcision) that God had poured out on these Gentiles the Spirit in the same way as He had the Jewish believers. The reason is obvious. God wanted the Christian Jews to know that Jesus was the Messiah, and the Gospel was for Jew and Gentile alike.

C. The Third time tongues is mentioned in Scripture is twenty-two years later in Act 19:1-8. These were the disciplines of John the Baptist. They were not Christians, but saved Old Testament saints who lived in Ephesus who had repented and followed the message of John the Baptist. Probably they had heard John preach on a pilgrimage they had made to Jerusalem. They, however, had not heard about Jesus Christ, his life, death and resurrection. They were still looking for the Messiah to come, and did not know that He had already come. Although the sound as a mighty rushing wind and the cloven tongues of fire are not mentioned there is no reason to not believe that they were present. Often in Scripture you will find an event mentioned without all the details given. It is totally conceivable that since Luke had already fully described the matter earlier he only mentions does not include all the details. The details he does mention is the fact they spoke in other languages (tongues) and prophesied. This testifies as to the effect of the experience on the men and those who witnessed it.

Why did these men at Ephesus receive the gift of tongues? It was a sign to prove to these Jews in the synagogue, who did not believe in Christ and who were ignorant of His death, burial and resurrection, that Jesus Christ was in truth the Messiah. This gift of tongues was received by those who believed and was a sign to those who witnessed the event that Messiah had surely come. Note also that only about twelve men spoke in tongues and prophesied. Prophesied, simply means they spoke or gave witness to the Word of God. It does not mean they foretold future events.

In this account, some Jews at Ephesus believed in the Messiah. However, even after Paul had taught there for three months, some Jews hardened their hearts and spoke evil of the Gospel. Paul then left the Jewish synagogue where he had been preaching and separated the believing disciples from these unbelieving Jews. They then began to meet daily at the school of Tyrannus which was a lecture hall. Paul for two years discipled these Jews who accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior. The result was that ". . . all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks." (Acts 19:10) They too fulfilled Christ's prediction that, "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem , and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.: (Acts 1:8) Again the purpose of tongues was a sign to unbelievers and those that received the gift of tongues used it to witness of Christ. That is not the modern day use of tongues as will be discussed later.>

D. In Acts 19, when John the Baptist's disciples received the gift of tongues they clearly became Christians. They were saved Old Testament saints who after hearing the Gospel believed it and were immediate indwelled by the Holy Spirit and became a part of the body of Christ. The effect was that as in the other two accounts they became witnesses to the Gospel. (Acts 1:8)

E. These are the only three times an account of the receiving the gift of tongues is recorded. There is no reason from Scripture to believe that the three events were different. Modern churches which practice tongues make note that in Acts 19, the account does not mention the sound as a mighty rushing wind or the cloven tongues of fire. They point to this as support for the absence of these supernatural acts in the modern practice of tongues. However, they are forcing a point that is not stated. They are in fact admitting the supernatural acts are absent in modern tongues and are trying to use this account as an example when these supernatural acts were not present. As stated, that is forcing the point. There is no valid reason, apart from trying to justify the modern experience, for believing that in all events the exact thing happened.

How Does the Modern Gift of Tongues Compare to the Examples in the Book of Acts?

1. Missing in the modern practice of tongues is the supernatural acts of God as the the event being accompanied by the sound as of a mighty rushing wind which fills the whole house and the appearance of cloven tongues of fire.

2. The modern gift of tongues is used as a so called "prayer language." There is only one verse in the Bible that seems to associate tongues with prayer. In 1 Corinthians 14:14-15, Paul says, "For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful. What is the result then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit and will also sing with understanding. Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say, `Amen' at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say? You indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified. I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than you all, yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue." Paul goes on to say, "Brethren, do not be children in understanding: however, in malice babes, but in understanding be mature."

The Definition of the Word "Tongues." First we need to define what is a "tongue." In every reference in the New Testament the word simply means a language. In old English the word "tongue" means language. In Acts 2:6, the Greek word is "dialektos" and mean a language or "dialect." It is the word used in Acts 1:19, 2:6 & 8, 21:40, 22:2; 26:14 which record the three times that the "tongues" is recorded as happening in the New Testament. In the other passages the Greek word is "glossa" it refers to the tongue as the organ of speech. (see Mark 7:33, Rom. 3:13, 14:11, 1 Cor. 14:9, Phil. 2:11, James 1:26, 3:5-6 & 8, 1 Pet. 3:10, 1 John 3:18, and Rev. 16:10 ) This word means the supernatural gift of speaking in an unlearned language. In every case the word refers to a language, and there is no New Testament valid reference to "glossa" being ecstatic speech.

Paul then states the reason for tongues. "Therefore, tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe, but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers, but for those who believe."

Is tongues a valid pray language? The answer is no. At Pentecost it was a sign to unbelieving Jews, in which they heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In Acts 2:11, it says that those present testified, ". . . we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God." (Acts 2:11) Paul in 1 Corinthians 14: 14, is correcting the error of using tongues as prayer language. He says, in verse 15, that he would pray and sing both with his understanding, because to do otherwise is unfruitful. Earlier in verse 2, he concluded that when men spoke in tongues no one understood but God. He points out the singing and praying in a language that no one else knows does not help that person by teaching those present the truth. This is always in view in the Biblical and correct use of tongues. Paul emphatically states that tongues is not for believers, but a sign for unbelievers who hear the Gospel truth in their own language. The whole thesis of Paul addressing "tongues" in 1 Corinthians is that no one should be speaking tongues in the presence of others hearers who could not understand what was being said. (1 Cor. 14:33-40)

Using tongues as prayer language clearly violates 1 Corinthians 14:22, and this condemns the modern tongues movement as false, because it teaches in error it is special prayer language.

Romans 8:26 says, "Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered." In this verse tongues is not mentioned or is in the picture. The verse says that the intercession of the Holy Spirit is NOT audible, but "with groaning which cannot be uttered." Modern praying in tongues is verbal and audible, this verse says that the work of the Holy Spirit in prayer is something that CANNOT be uttered. Note that the word "spirit" is not capitalized in 1 Corinthians 14:14. This is not praying in the Holy Spirit, but praying in a persons spirit. Paul says it is, "my spirit prayeth" that prays.

Using 1 Corinthians 14:14, as an example of "praying in tongues" is a gross error. Praying in the spirit, as practiced by the modern tongues movement is promoted as being something highly desired. It is presented as a special spiritual communication with God. The Bible does not teach this anywhere! In Verse 9, Paul says that speaking in tongues as the Corinthians were doing was "speaking into the air."

1 Corinthians 14, is a lengthy admonishment against the practice of speaking in tongues. It is clear that what the Corinthians were practicing was not Scriptural and Paul is admonishing them to stop. Paul says in verse 19, "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." (1 Corinthians 14:19) Clearly Paul is saying there is no benefit in a person saying something they or others who hear them do not understand. In Verse 6, he says, "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?" (1 CORINTHIANS 14:6)

A careful reading of Chapter 14, clearly reveals several things:

1. A person is not to seek the gift of tongues but rather of prophesy. (preach and teach the Word of God) Verses 1,3,5,6,13,16,19,23. Paul says in Verse 26, ". . . Let ALL things be done to edifying." The word "edify" means to "build up." So Paul is saying one should seek to be empowered of God to be a preacher or teacher of God's word, not to seek to practice a sign gift.

2. There is no reference in the Bible of a woman speaking in tongues. In 1 Corinthians 14:34, women were forbidden to speak in tongues in public. Today, in tongues speaking churches, it is practiced mostly by women and they are allowed to speak. Paul says if they had questions they were to ask their husbands at home. This is a command. If women were not to speak in tongues in public, when were they to practice tongues? The Biblical example is that tongues was a sign gift which was always done in public in front of unbelievers. It leaves no other time for women to use tongues except in private and then one would ask for what reason would speak in tongues in private when there are no unbelievers to hear. In two accounts in Scripture of tongues being practiced it specifically states it was men who received the gift.

On the Day of Pentecost: "And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? . . . Others mocking said, These men are full of new wine. (Acts 2:8, 13) In Acts 19:7, it says, "And all the men were about twelve." (Acts 19:7) In Acts 10:44, the Bible says the Holy Ghost fell on all who heard the word. Women could have been present although it was not their custom to have women present when men were meeting. Customs of the day separated the men and women in all public meetings and when other men visited the home. Paul says in verse 37, "If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord." (1 Corinthians 14:37) Note it says that all these admonishments against tongues was the commandment of the Lord! In verse 38, Paul is literally saying a man who will not respect and accept these instructions should not have his words respected in turn. "But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant." (1 Corinthians 14:38)

3. Tongues was a sign to unbelievers, NOT to believers. Today, the gift of tongues is presented as a sign that a believer has received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. That is contrary to what 1 Corinthians 14:21-22 says. Also, not once in the New Testament is tongues presented as proof of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. In Acts 2 and 19, unbelieving Jews were present and some believed and were saved. In Acts 10, it was a sign to the unbelieving Jews that the Gospel was to go to the Gentiles as well as Jews. Paul states in Romans 8:9, that all believers are indwelled by the Holy Spirit. He says that if a person does not have the indwelling of the Spirit of God he is not God's child or saved. "Be ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ is none of his." All believers receive the Baptism of the Holy Spirit at the moment they are saved. This was not so in the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, the Holy Spirit "came upon" the one God has choose for special service. David is the only person in the Old Testament that the Bible says was continually indwelled by the Spirit of God. (1 Samuel 16:13) What happened on the Day of Pentecost was that the fifty, who waited in the upper room were the first to receive the permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Jesus told them just before He ascended into Heaven, ".. . that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence." (Acts 1:4-5) Verse 8, explains that after they received the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, "But ye shall received power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria and unto the uttermost part of the earth." From Pentecost unto the Rapture, all believers are indwelled by the Spirit of God.

Eph 5:18, instructs believers to "And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit." There is only one indwelling of the Holy Spirit, but there can be multiple "fillings." A believer can neglect God's presence by letting sin in his life and get out of fellowship with the Lord. The "filling" actually means being controlled by the Holy Spirit. When we sin and disobey God the flesh is in control and not God. However, if we confess our sin and ask God's forgiveness, we then allow the Holy Spirit to take over and thus are "filled" with the Spirit.

4. Paul said that the Corinthians were not to forbid a person from speaking in tongues. More will be said about this later on. Tongues was still a valid gift in 56 AD when this book was written. It will be shown later that according to 1 Corinthians 13:8-10, the sign gifts would cease when the Scriptures were complete. This happened around 70 AD, when Jerusalem was destroyed and the Jews dispersed all over the earth.

5. The modern tongues movement actually teaches people how to speak in tongues. No one in the Bible had to be trained and taught how to practice the gift of tongues or any special gift from God. In each case the gift was received instantaneously and no one prayed or ask God for the gift. However, today men are taught to pray and diligently seek the gift of tongues. Don Basham, who was in the forefront of the Charismatic movement in the 1970's, instructs those trying to practice tongues He says in his book, A Handbook on Holy Spirit Baptism, "If you have been praising God in English, you may find your speech becoming difficult, your voice stammering. Yield to this stammering and the new language will form itself easily. Or you may experience the beginning of this "unknown tongue" by having the Holy Spirit insert strange sounding syllables and words in your mind." (page 106) He continues and says "You may even stutter and stammer like a baby at first. Beginning tongues often sound like baby talk." (p107) Clearly, when God throughout the Bible did a miracle or gave a special gift the recipient did not have to be prompted or taught how to receive it. Basham warns his readers that they may think, "That's not it! You're just making up sounds and syllables." But he urges them on and says, "Go ahead and speak and keep on speaking." Clearly, modern tongues speaking is something someone learns to do. Again, there is no comparison between today's "tongues" and the examples in the New Testament and they are completely different. In all the Bible's instructions on how to pray, tongues is never mentioned. If tongues is a special prayer language between a believer and God, then why is it not mentioned and emphasized.

6. In 1 Corinthians 14:23, Paul says, "If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?" Many times I have been told by unsaved men and women of their experience of attending a tongues speaking church. They report on being greatly alarmed and "turned off" by all the emotional antics they saw. This is what Paul is speaking of here. If an unsaved person comes to our church, they should hear a clear presentation of the Gospel. How could God be in something that actually hinders people from hearing the Gospel. It is interesting that these English speaking people came to a church and all they heard were people speaking something they could not understand. Does it make sense that God would give a gift today of speaking some foreign language to someone in a church where everyone speaks the same language. In many churches today in the west there are Spanish speaking people. Yet, not once in talking to hundreds of Charismatics have I ever heard of some English speaking person, who had never learned Spanish, witnessing to a Hispanic in their own native tongue. Paul gives the clear principle in 1 Corinthians 14:33, that if anything causes confusion it is not of God.

1 Corinthians 14:37, says it was imperative that these admonitions against improper use of tongues were to be followed. That leaves no grounds for the unbiblical practices of the modern tongues movement. These instructions Paul gave were commandments from God. If those who practice tongues today would apply these simple admonishments, the modern tongues would die over night. The New Testament Teaches that Gift of Tongues Would Cease There is no evidence of the continuance of the gift after the period of the early church, nor later in the ministries of the apostles. Only Paul in 1 Corinthians mentions tongues. The modern tongues movement can trace its beginnings to the turn of the century as it was unknown in early churches after about 60 to 70 A.D.

In 1 Corinthians 13:8-10, Paul clearly states that tongues would cease as well as "prophecies" and "knowledge." "Prophecies" and "knowledge" are both references to the supernatural writing of the Scriptures. Paul begin by giving a contrast. "Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. " (1 Cor. 13:8) He says love would not cease, but prophecy, tongues and knowledge would. The word "prophecies" is plural and refers to many prophecies. The word is made up of two Greek words "pro" meaning "before" and "phemi" meaning "to speak." Literally is means to "speak before." Its primary use was in speaking "before" people and preaching or proclaiming the word of God. Its normal meaning was not "forth telling" or telling the future before in time, but preaching the Word of God. In the early churches the Apostles literally spoke the Word of God that was not yet written. This is what the passage is referring to. After 95 A.D. when the canon of Scripture was complete this type of prophecy ended. From that point on the "teacher" has been used of God to prophesy what God had recorded in the Word of God. The word "knowledge" is also related to this supernatural understanding of the Word of God before it was written. The word used is "gnosis" and primary is used as "a seeking to know, an enquiry, or investigation." It appears to mean the supernatural gift of seeking God's truth and being able to understand it.

The word "tongues" refers to the supernatural gift as recorded in the Book of Acts which was a supernatural sign given to the unbelieving Jews to attest that Jesus Christ was the Messiah and the message of the Apostles that proclaimed this truth was accurate.

In 1 Corinthians 13:9-10 says, "For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. " In other words when the canon of Scripture would be complete there would no longer be any need of these special gifts that were signs to the validity of the New Testament Scriptures which were in the process of being written. Some have concluded that the verse is a reference to the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus. However, that is impossible because in verse 10, the word "perfect," which they say is a reference to Christ, is neuter in gender. In the Bible, where there is a reference to the Lord Jesus, he is always referred to in the masculine gender. The word "perfect" is neuter and thus a "thing" and not a person. The "thing" from the context is easily understood as a reference to the Word of God, because that is what "prophecy" and"knowledge" are related to. If the word "perfect" was masculine it could legitimately be referring to Christ, but as a neuter noun it cannot be a reference to Christ.


From the above references it is clearly shown that what is occurring in the modern tongues movement is not supported by the New Testament as being what happened the early church. Further once the New Testament canon was complete and the Jews were despearsed when Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD there was no further need of the sign gifts and they ceased as 1 Corintians 13:8-10 predicted. It can only be concluded that modern day tongues is not of God, because it is not supported by the New Testament. Further, what is occurring seems to be learned or contrived from emotional experiences prompted by the denominations who teach this false doctrine.