Thursday, June 17, 2010


There are four main theories as to what Paul meant when he wrote that the gift of tongues would cease when "that which is perfect is come" (1 Cor. 13:8-10). The "perfect" is: 1. When a believer becomes perfect as in "a spiritually mature man" or Christ-like. 2. When the Church has reached its last convert and is therefore perfect or complete. 3. When our perfect Christ returns. 4. When the perfect Word of God, the Bible, is completed. The Greek word translated "perfect" is teleios, which is translated "of full age" (1x); "perfect" (15x); "man, or of ripe age" (1x); "that which is perfect" (1x); "they that are perfect" (1x). The root, telos is translated "the end" (35x) out of a total (41x). It is easy to understand how there could be a wide variety of interpretations of these verses.

Last night at Bible Study, our pastor showed us his copy of his Greek New Testament. Written at the end of Revelation in capital letters was TELOS. It was not part of verse twenty-one, but was centered on the page beneath twenty-one. In my study for this writing, I discovered some strange anomalies. One version of the Greek N.T. did not even have verse twenty-one. Those versions that did have it, did not have the word "amen" in them, unless they were showing the Greek for the English text, or in other words, the Greek was translated from the English. Since the original was Greek, it is strange that someone would change the Greek to match the English versions. Needless to say, I will have to do a great deal of study before I try to discuss interpretation number four.

In the mean time, I would like to make some observations about the gift of tongues. Tongues were a gift of the Spirit and were for the purpose of authenticating the speaker as being of God (1 Cor. 14:22). The Jews required a sign in order to believe (1 Cor. 1:22). There does not seem to be a single example where the gift of tongues was manifested for the benefit of unbelieving Gentiles, and even the idea of such happening is spoken against by Paul (1 Cor. 14:23).

In the four historical examples where tongues occurred, Jews were present and God's truth was verified by them. At Pentecost, everyone there was a Jew, and each heard them speak in their own language (Acts 2:1-12). As a result, the audience listened to the Gospel and three thousand were saved. In Acts 8:14-18, Samaritans accepted Christ and began manifesting something that indicated to Simon they had received something supernatural. The Apostle Peter was convinced that the Samaritans were to be part of the Church. The Bible does not say it was tongues, but if it were something different, Luke would have told us. When the Gentiles were recognized as being saved, the evidence to the Jews (in this case, Peter) was that they spoke in tongues (Acts 10:44-47). When he returned to Jerusalem, Peter convinced the others that the Gentiles were also accepted by Christ as part of the Church (Acts 11:115-18). In the last example, twelve Jews who apparently were disciples of John the Baptist, were presented with the Gospel of Christ. They believed, spoke in tongues, and immediately went into the synagogue and preached the Kingdom of God (Acts 19:1-10).

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