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Gift of Tongues

Updated: Mar 11, 2022

Written by: John Sernaque

Dear Reader,

One of the great benefits of having grown up in New York was being surrounded by a diversity of ethnicities. People from all over the world. Sometimes I’d meet someone from a country that I’d never even heard of. With these many nations come all the different languages of the world. In many countries, the word used for language is tongue. For instance, in Spanish, when one asks what language you speak, the word used for language is lengua, which is literally translated as tongue. It makes sense as one cannot speak without a tongue. In Italian, the word for language is lingua, again literally translates as tongue. Even in the English language, the definition for the scientific study of languages is the word linguistics. See how tongue is used in the word linguistics? Derived from Latin, Lingua, means tongue, but in many languages, as we have mentioned, tongue also means language. Even in English the word or expression “mother tongue” is used. Thus Lingua (Lingua Latina), tongue, is the Latin word for language. Does it not make sense that the Bible uses the word tongue to mean language? In German, the word tongue is zunge, also used to mean language. See how similar, with the exception of a few letters, the spellings are, tongue and zunge. Even the phonetics. But where did all these different languages come from?

Where all the languages, or tongues, came from is explained in the Book of Genesis 11: 1-9. In the time after the flood, the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech.

For a time the descendants of Noah continued to dwell among the mountains where the ark had rested. As their numbers increased, apostasy soon led to division. Those who desired to forget their Creator and to cast off the restraint of His law felt a constant annoyance from the teaching and example of their God-fearing associates, and after a time they decided to separate from the worshipers of God. {PP 118}

And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top [may reach] unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. Genesis 11:4

The dwellers on the plain of Shinar disbelieved God’s covenant that He would not again bring a flood upon the earth. Many of them denied the existence of God and attributed the Flood to the operation of natural causes. Others believed in a Supreme Being, and that it was He who had destroyed the antediluvian world; and their hearts, like that of Cain, rose up in rebellion against Him. One object before them in the erection of the tower was to secure their own safety in case of another deluge. {PP 119}

The Lord came down to confound their language, tongue, that they may not understand one another’s speech. The Lord scattered them upon the face of the earth and they left off to build the city.

Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. Genesis 11:9.

Babel means confusion. This is where the word Babylon comes from. Babies babel, but are not understood. It is gibberish, not a known language to mankind. When someone speaks in a language, tongue, that is foreign to me, I cannot understand what they are saying. Unless, someone else there that speaks their language, tongue, and English, and are able to interpret what they are saying, then can I understand. This is the basic explanation for 1 Corinthians 12:10. The Bible says: 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. 1 Corinthians 12:10. We find that in reading 1 Cor 12: 1-11, these verses give us a clear understanding that there are many gifts of the Spirit, that there are diversities of gifts, but of the same Spirit. These gifts are listed as: administrations, operations, the manifestation of the Spirit, the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, gift of healing, working of miracles, prophecy, discernment of spirits, diverse tongues, and the interpretation of tongues. All these gifts are of the same Spirit. Note once again that some will have the gift of speaking different languages, tongues, and will be able to also exercise their gift of interpreting of languages, tongues, that others may understand. Some speaking more than one language will assist in continuing to deliver the Everlasting Gospel far and wide, that it may reach the four corners of the world. Therefore, hastening Christ’s second advent. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. Matthew 24:14. Also, none of the above are prerequisites in receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit. The Bible says: If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him? Luke 11:13. The Holy Spirit is a gift from God if you ask. This is what Christ Jesus Himself said, and we do not want to contradict what Jesus said. I pray that this straightforward explanation will lead you to the understanding that there are diverse languages, tongues, their interpretation, and not babel that will help you lead others to Jesus Christ. May God Bless you and keep you. Amen.

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