What are “tongues” in Acts 2? (Part 2)

We’re currently examining tongues in Acts 2, and the previous post considered the question Are tongues in Acts 2 a gift of hearing, rather than speaking? Today I want to deal with two more questions.

Are tongues in Acts 2 a “heavenly language” understood only by interpretation?

Whilst this suggestion has been made for glossolalia in Corinthians, it is not even remotely credible in Acts, as there is no suggestion that any interpreters were present.

Are tongues in Acts 2 unintelligible, ecstatic speech?

If the tongues are not a miracle of hearing then it follows that they cannot be unintelligible speech. There is simply too much emphasis on the intelligibility of the speech for it to be ecstatic. The only “evidence” from Acts that it was ecstatic is that the disciples were accused of drunkenness (Acts 2:13). If the only reaction was a belief that the disciples were drunk, this would be evidence for ecstasy. However, according to Luke, the accusation of drunkenness is only one reaction. Many others affirm the intelligibility of the speech, both in the language (“in our own tongues”), and in the content (“we hear them telling… the mighty works of God”). Moreover, this partial accusation of drunkenness would more easily follow if the speech was the ability to speak in many human languages (see a future post). Therefore in Acts 2, Luke cannot be referring to ecstatic, unintelligible utterances.

Next time we’ll deal (in much more detail) with the question: Are tongues in Acts 2 the non-miraculous speaking of a human language?


  1. Manaledi Mojalefa says

    speaking in tongues is a gift from God. He fills us with the Holy Spirit aand interceds for us. In order to speak in tongues, we need the Holy Spirit. Godd has given us the Spirit of life. When you read the book of Acts 2, it talks about how the Holy Spirit filled the people whgo were praying to God. They all began to speak in order languages. you see when the Spirit of God comes upon you, it takes control, you just ave to open your heart to God and let him do his wonders.

  2. But is not glossololia but rather xenoglossy which is an actual language and not some pagan babble. God is not the author of confusion.