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HAS MIRACULOUS TONGUE SPEAKING CEASED?

“For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom;
to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To
another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts 
of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working
of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning
of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another
the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that
one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally
as he will.” (I Cor. 12:8-11). There were nine of these
spiritual gifts that were in use in the early church. There
is so much interest in tongues that we will discuss when
tongues (as a miraculous gift) ceased, but at the same time
so did all nine of these spiritual gifts cease. The Holy
Spirit is the author of order (I Cor. 14:40). For many their
claim of tongues speaking is not in order which makes their
claims suspicious. It should be remembered that there is a
difference between the experiences of the apostles and the
teachings of the apostles. They had power and wisdom that
others did not have, and did things that we are not permitted
to do. With this in mind we will be able to understand more
about tongue speaking. 

            

There were 8 writers of the New Testament; there were 21
books or letters written to congregations, individuals, or
groups of churches. Paul wrote 13 or 14 of these letters. 
There are 27 churches mentioned by name in the New Testament.
Paul is the only writer who discussed the gift of tongue 
speaking. He wrote not a word on the subject of tongues to
the church at Rome, Ephesus, Colosse, Thessalonica, Philippi,
or the churches of Galatia. Neither did he mention the 
speaking of tongues in his general epistles. John, who wrote
five books of the New Testament, does not mention the subject
of tongue speaking. Even Peter, the spokesman on the day of 
Pentecost, who spoke in tongues, did not mention the subject
in writing his two letters. It is a strange omission indeed
if tongue speaking is an essential part of the Christian 
experience or if it was to be perpetuated in the church of
the Lord’s people. 

 

Paul does discuss the matter of speaking in tongues but 
discusses it to only one church – Corinth. Luke, the writer
of Acts, mentions the speaking with tongues as a historical 
fact but does not go into a discussion of it. In Mark’s 
account the promise is given and tongue speaking is listed 
as one of the 5 signs that would follow the apostles to 
confirm the word that they preached (Mark 16:17-20). The 5
things are casting out devils, speaking with new tongues, 
taking up serpents, drinking deadly poison and not be hurt, 
and laying hands on the sick to recover them. 

 

There are five groups of passages in the New Testament 
with reference to “tongues” which we will notice in order. 

 

1. Acts 2:4, 6, 11. Other tongues are referred to and they
are called languages (vs. 6). The purpose was to prove the 
gospel of Christ was the fulfillment of prophecy. This was 
the beginning of the gospel on Pentecost day.

 

2. Acts 10:46; 11:15-17. Here Peter said it was the same 
gift that had been bestowed on the apostles in the beginning. 
Peter had carried 6 Jewish brethren with him to confirm what 
was happening. It is significant that “For they heard them 
speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 
Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, 
which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?” 
(Acts 10: 46, 47). The tongue speaking on this occasion proved
to the Jews that the Gentiles had a right to the blessings of the gospel.                                 

 

3. Acts 19:6. Here the 12 at Ephesus received tongues and the 
gift of prophecy. It was to enable them to reveal the divine 
gospel. 

 

4. I Corinthians 12:1-10, 30. The 9 gifts of the Spirit are
here listed of which tongues was one. In verses 28-31 the 
divine writer said, “And God hath set some in the church, 
first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, 
after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, 
governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? Are
all prophets? Are all teachers? Are all workers of miracles?
Have all the gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? 
Do all interpret?  But covet earnestly the best gifts: and 
yet show me unto you a more excellent way.”

Here it is denied that tongue speaking was ever universal 
in the church. It was a special gift to a limited number. 
And then he set about to point out a more excellent way which
is discussed in chapter 13. The way of faith, hope and love 
the greatest being love is the more excellent way. 

 

5. I Corinthians 14:2, 26-32. Here the use of the gift was 
limited to an interpreter present and all things were to be 
done decently and in order (I Cor. 14:33, 40). 

 

Miraculous tongue speaking ceased when the perfect revelation
was completed. I Cor. 13:8-10 states: “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. 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.” In James 1:25 the word is called 
“the perfect law of liberty”. The perfect to come is the 
completed Gospel. When the gospel was fully given then 
miraculous tongue speaking ceased.  This in Eph. 4:13 is called
coming to the unity of the faith. We have all things that 
pertain to life and godliness in the New Testament (2 Peter 1:3, 4).
We are to earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to 
the saints (Jude 3).  Tongue speaking could only be transmitted 
by the laying on of the hands of an apostle (Acts 19:6). All the 
apostles died in the first century so we have no way to obtain 
it today. People claiming it now do not speak in languages they 
have not studied. Neither do they give us any inspired messages. 
The gospel has been fully given. It is left for us to give the 
more earnest heed to the things revealed in the New Testament 
(Hebrews 2:1). Notice Hebrews 2:3,4 -  “How shall we escape, 
if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to 
be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that 
heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and 
wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, 
according to his own will?” The signs and wonders refer to such 
thing as miraculous tongue speaking. We do not have the signs 
any longer. We do have the message the signs confirmed. It is
up to us to follow the completed New Testament to be saved. 
All can read and understand what was once the mystery of Christ
(Eph. 3:3, 4)




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