Question:

Are tongues still in existence today?


Answer:

When gift of speaking in tongues was first mentioned in the Bible, the people found it a wonder. "And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born?" (Acts 2:8). Hence, the proper definition of "tongues" is "languages." By that definition, of course tongues still exist. I speak American English, others speak Spanish, Italian, Tagalog, and a wealth of other languages.

However, most people asking this question are not interested other languages but whether the Holy Spirit miraculously gives the gift of tongues (the gift of languages) to people today. Paul answers this in I Corinthians 13:8-10, "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. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away."

Some object saying, "But we still have knowledge!" True, but we don't have miraculous knowledge -- knowledge that comes to an individual without ever having to study. Just as we still have languages (or tongues), but we don't have the miraculous gift of languages. What is generally presented as "tongues" today is not the ability to speaking in a person's native language, but simple babbling of sounds.

Others, strongly desiring to justify their "tongue" speaking, argue that the perfect has not come. By this they mean that Christ has not returned. The argument fails because Paul is not speaking of a perfect person but a perfect thing. It is not "he who is perfect" but "that which is perfect." Yes, the Bible speaks of Christ being perfect, but there is also something else that is called perfect as well. "But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does" (James 1:25). It makes perfect sense that when God's perfect law was fully delivered, the gifts that sustained Christians during the interim of its delivery would end; for that was the purpose of the gifts -- to confirm the word. "How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?" (Hebrews 2:3-4).


See also:

Must you speak in tongues to have the Holy Spirit?
Praying in a heavenly tongue
What is an unknown tongue?
What is it that I'm doing, if it is not speaking in tongues?

Sermons:

Have Miracles Ceased?
Miracles in the New Testament
Miraculous Gifts
Speaking in Tongues
The Baptism of Cornelius
The Gift of the Holy Spirit

April 28, 2013