Christian Churches of God



No. 109z


Speaking in Tongues

(Edition 2.0 19950422-20000619)

This paper covers two subjects: What the Bible says regarding speaking in tongues and

the authenticity of Mark 16:9-20.






Christian Churches of God



(Copyright ã 1995, 2000 Wade Cox)

(Summary by Patti Gambier, Ed. Wade Cox)

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Speaking in Tongues

Speaking in tongues is found in many churches that believe that without this gift one has not received the Holy Spirit. Sometimes many people in the one congregation utter meaningless gibberish with no comprehension or care regarding meaning. This ecstatic behaviour is found in Shamanism, and is associated with possession by the divine or other spirit and inspiration. In the example of Acts 2 the wonderful gift of speaking in tongues (glossolalia) thus described was historic, articulate and intelligible (Catholic Encyclopaedia) and the miracle was in the hearing.

What does the Bible have to say? It is a serious question addressed by Paul. Acts 2:3-4 says that the Holy Spirit descended onto the disciples and gave them utterance.

Acts 2:5-11: The significant point is that each of the many nationalities present heard the Scriptures taught in his own language. Acts 10:46 reinforces this view.

Acts 2:12-47 shows Peter preached to the multitude and many repented and were baptized.

Note also Acts 10, which deals with Peter’s vision of the unclean foods. When Cornelius and his companions were baptized, they also spoke in tongues (Acts 10:44-47). This showed Peter that God was also working with the Gentiles. Acts 19:6 is the next mention of speaking in tongues.

1Corinthians 7:7 shows that this is a gift by the Holy Spirit after baptism, but not given to everyone.

Paul explains in 1Corinthians 12:1-31 that there are different gifts given to different people, as God wills. It also shows in verse 10 that with the gift of tongues, there is also the interpretation of same (cf. Rom. 12:6-8).

In 1Corinthians13, Paul goes on to explain that these gifts of Chapter 12 are worthless unless accompanied by God’s love.

1Corinthians 14 continues: Love should be our aim, and tongues and prophecy are very important aspects of love. Paul shows the proper use of the gift of specific languages and their value in congregations only if they can be interpreted and understood by all. Gibberish is just that - the language of demons, and of no value to the people.

Paul emphasises that teaching is for the edification of the Church, by understanding (1Cor.14:6-14).

In verses 15 and 16 Paul shows the place of tongues in prayer (cf. Rom. 8).

Verses 26-28 show that God knows and understands and provides as He wills.

1Corinthians 14:19-25 states specifically that the unordered use of tongues is seen as a sign of instability. The most useful tool of conversion is clear prophecy.

Verses 26-33 explain the rule for the use of tongues or foreign languages.

Verses 39 and 40: Let all things be done decently and in order.

So from these Scriptures it can be seen that speaking in tongues is an acceptable part of preaching the Gospel. It is a specific gift to people whom God endows. All must be edified, or the speaking is useless. The gift must be correctly applied in Godly love for the preaching of the Gospel to all nations.

The authenticity of Mark 16: 9-20

Most Bibles do not include the end section of Mark, or do so with notations.

It is of value to read The Companion Bible (Appendix 168). Most modern critics do not accept these 12 verses of Mark. However, the Companion Bible defends their inclusion. Thus, the last twelve verses added to Mark, namely verses 9-20, must be treated with extreme caution and not be used for the establishment of any doctrine.

The doctrine concerning speaking in tongues is nevertheless clear from the texts used in this work and the gift concerned is of languages to be used only for the instruction of the brethren, when language is required to instruct, and for the conversion of unbeliever. The result is the disciplined display of the Holy Spirit in power, decently and in order.