PMT 2014-065 by Kenneth L. Gentry, Jr.
As I continue my eschatological analysis of tongues in Scripture, we must now consider the content of tongues in Scripture. If you have not read the preceding articles, I highly recommend that you do so. The tongues phenomenon has implications for biblical eschatology in general and postmillennialism in particular.
Probably the most misunderstood aspect of the nature of tongues — and in the nature of the case the most dangerous — is the nature of tongues relative to their content. Scripture is abundantly clear: Tongues-speaking is a revelation-bearing gift. Tongues serve as a mode of direct revelation from God to man. Tongues brought revelation from God to man just as surely as the gift of prophecy brought revelation to the prophets and apostles of old. Thus, tongues bring inspired, inerrant, absolutely authoritative communication from God to man via the Holy Spirit. Consider the following lines of evidence.
The initial occurrence of tongues
In Acts 2 tongues are defined as prophetic. When Peter stands up to interpret the Pentecost phenomenon of tongues-speaking causing the amazement of the crowds (Acts 2:6, 12), he categorically states that the episode is prophetic: “But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams, and on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy’” (Acts 2:16-18).
Tongues Radio Debate (1 CD)
Radio interview and debate between Dr. Gentry and a leading advocate of modern-day
tongues speaking. Gentry argues that tongues have ceased,
having served their original purpose in the first century.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
The biblical concept of godly prophesying is a speaking forth of the mind and will of God under the direct impulse of the Spirit. the matter of prophetic claims is so significant that God’s Law mandates capital punishment for false prophecy (Deut. 18:20). The claim to speak under the direct impulse and authority of God is a very serious matter.
The relationship of word-gifts tongues
Tongues are frequently tied up with and related to other revelational gifts (Acts 2; 19; 1 Cor. 13; 14). In the preceding comments above I showed that tongues are related to “prophecy” in Acts 2. The same is true in Acts 19 where we read that the converts both speak with tongues and prophesy: “And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied” (Acts 19:6).
For our present purposes, let us note that 1 Corinthians 13:8 unites tongues with the revelatory spiritual gifts of “knowledge” and “prophecy”: “Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.” In 1 Corinthians 14 Paul considers tongues at great length in conjunction with prophecy. (For information on the “gift of knowledge,” see heading below: “Scripture Designates a Terminus ad Quem.”)
A difference between tongues and prophecy exists, to be sure. But they differ in formal structure, rather than content. Prophecy involves the Spirit-endowed ability to speak infallibly the will of God in one’s native language. Whereas, the gift of tongues enables the speaker to infallibly declare the will of God miraculously in a language one had never learned.
The speaking of “mysteries”
First Corinthians 14:2 states: “For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.”
Most good Bible dictionaries define the concept of “mystery” in Scripture in terms of revelation from God. For instance, the Zondervan Pictorial Bible Dictionary reads: “A mystery (spoken) is thus now a revelation.” The Arndt-Gingrich-Danker Greek-English Lexicon of New Testament Greek notes that: “Our literature uses it [i.e., mystery] to mean the secret thoughts, plans, and dispensations of God, which are hidden from the human reason, as well as from all other comprehension below the divine level, and hence must be revealed to those for whom they are intended.” Bible versions clearly exhibiting this understanding of the term include: Moffatt, Amplified, Williams, Weymouth, Phillips, and Today’s English Version.
Women’s Headcoverings (7 CDs)
Informal home Bible study and discussion. Shows that
Paul was referring to a woman’s hair, not a veil or material headcovering.
See more study materials at: www.KennethGentry.com
The nature of biblical tongues in terms of their form and content is precisely defined in Scripture itself. The gift of tongues in Scripture is a miraculous endowment of the Holy Spirit of God whereby the gifted are enabled to speak in a foreign language never previously known. It is not a gift of ecstatic, emotionally frenzied, incoherent rhapsody. The content of tongues is that of a revelatory message given by a direct impulse of the Spirit, the Revealer of Truth. Consequently, the message related in tongues is on par with Scriptural revelation, possessing infallibility, inerrancy, and authority. The modern phenomenon bears no relation to biblical tongues. The modern charismatic experience, therefore, is alien to Scriptures, and is wholly devoid of biblical warrant.