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The Gift of Tongues | George E. Harmon


Modern tongues people claim all speak in tongues, as evidence of the reception of the baptism of the Holy Ghost, but the Bible says no. We will quote from the Greek and Emphatic Diaglott 1 Corinthians 12:29-30: “All are not apostles, all are not prophets, all are not teachers, all are not powers, all have not gifts of cures, all do not speak in different languages, all do not interpret.” There were multitudes of people at Jerusalem who believed and were filled with the Holy Ghost, but mention is made of only one hundred and twenty of those on Pentecost who spoke in tongues. The language of Jesus in the commission gives no more ground for believing or supposing that every individual believer should speak with tongues, than for believing they should take up serpents, or lay hands on the sick for healing, or cast out devils. John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Ghost from his birth, but did not speak in tongues.

There is no Bible for seeking the gift of tongues, except it would be for some other’s benefit. Some say they do not seek the tongues, but they will not accept as the baptism of the Spirit any experience until the tongues come. Such a belief opens an avenue for deception, as they will not be satisfied with anything except it be accompanied by tongues, which makes it easy for the enemy to take advantage of them and give them a manifestation of muttering and jabbering, which they readily accept as the real gift of tongues. Now where are the texts which prove that tongues must in every instance accompany the baptism? They are not in the Bible. They are to be found only in the deluded mind of man. We have record of three times only of the tongues in connection with the Holy Ghost, namely:

But it is supposed by some that because three times we find they spoke in tongues when the baptism was received, that in every case, when the baptism was received, they spoke in tongues, though it is not mentioned. We prefer to base our argument on what is in the Bible rather than on what is omitted.

To illustrate, a certain good man went in a grove every day for secret prayer and for some time took a stone with him, putting it on a little pile of stones. Suppose that after awhile the little pile of stones ceased to grow as at first. Is there anything in that to prove the good man had quit going to pray in the grove? Not a thing. Why not? Because there is not an essential connection between the man and the stone. Now the fact that in three instances the speaking in tongues did accompany the Holy Ghost baptism, is no proof that tongues should accompany all baptisms. Jesus said of the Holy Ghost, “When he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth.”* (John 16:13) And in the 17th chapter He said to the Father, “Thy word is truth.”* (John 17:17) And as the Holy Ghost and the Word always agree, “the truth,” therefore, is something that can be learned, is it not? If not, why not? As the Holy Ghost helps us to teach it and understand it. We are warned to not believe every spirit, “but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”* (1 John 4:1) I know of only one way to try the spirits, and that is by the word of truth that Jesus said the Holy Ghost would lead into, or explain to us, or cause us to understand, for that is just what Jesus meant.

Now, “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”* (Isaiah 8:20) In the 19th verse we read, “And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God.”* (Isaiah 8:19) Peeping and muttering mean indistinct, inarticulate talk, like the lowing of cattle, the bleating of sheep, or as Paul says, concerning inanimate things, “whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped?”* (1 Corinthians 14:7) It would be unknown, “So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue [language] words easy to be understood, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air.”* (1 Corinthians 14:9)

The Biblical meaning of tongues, therefore, according to the Greek, the Emphatic Diaglott, or any other translation (even the King James, when we consider that the “unknown” is in italics, which signifies a word supplied and not translated), is languages.