Summary: A Study of the nature, origin and purpose of the miraculous Gift of Tongues.
The ability, by guidance of the Holy Spirit, to speak another language without its having been learnt.
A. For the Apostles - the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. ACTS 1:1-5,8; 2:1-4.
B. Other early Christians - via the laying on of the Apostles’ hands. ACTS 19:6-7; 8:14-19.
The Gospel needed to be taken to the four corners of the earth quicker than would be possible if the apostles/evangelists had to study foreign languages before preaching. In the infancy of the Church, when certain men were enabled to preach in foreign languages which they had never studied, such miraculous utterances were used to confirm within the minds of unbelievers that those so speaking labored under a Divine commission. Tongues would convince unbelievers that God was working through the speakers to relay His message of salvation . 1 CORINTHIANS 14:22; MARK 16:14-15, 17-18, 20; HEBREWS 2:2-4.
Note: The gift of tongues had little importance and value in the established church assembly. Tongues do not edify believers (1 CORINTHIANS 14:2-5, 18-20). Without an interpreter, the use of tongues was worthless and, therefore, forbidden in the assembly ( 1 CORINTHIANS 14:10-13, 26-28).
There is no evidence of the continuance of this miraculous gift after Apostolic times nor indeed in the latter times of the Apostles themselves. This provides confirmation of the fulfillment of 1 CORINTHIANS 13:8 that this gift would "cease" in the church, just as would ’prophecies’ and ’knowledge’ in the sense of these being received by immediate supernatural power or inspiration.
The completion of the Holy Scriptures has provided the Church (and world) with all that is necessary for individual and collective guidance, instruction, and edification - JOHN 20:30-31; ROMANS 10:17; ACTS 20:32; 2 TIMOTHY 3:16-17; 1 PETER 4:11; MATTHEW 12:38-39; LUKE 16:27-31.