The Confusion of Tongues -- By: William G. Bellshaw

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 120:478 (Apr 1963)
Article: The Confusion of Tongues
Author: William G. Bellshaw


The Confusion of Tongues

William G. Bellshaw

[William G. Bellshaw, Dean, The San Francisco Conservative Baptist Theological Seminary, San Francisco.]

“The Bible is our only rule of faith and practice.” Such is the historic contention of Bible believing Christians. When anything intrudes itself between the Bible and the believer, doctrinal error usually results. Neglect of God’s Word often manifests itself in a deep hungering for some significant experience to fill that void which results from this spiritual vacuum. We are living at a time when in many circles a desire for such an experience has led people into error. An experience which seems genuine has been thrust into the lives of many Christians causing them to misapprehend the message of God’s Word concerning the Holy Spirit’s ministry among men. This does not mean that the Christian life is not experiential. But it does mean that all of our experiences should be founded upon the solid testimony of God’s authoritative Word.

In the last few years a number of Bible students have been bestowing the gift of tongues upon the church. Some even feel that the Holy Spirit has bestowed this gift upon them, and that they have spoken in tongues. These events remind us that we must again search the Word of God so that neither our practices nor our desires will be outside of the limits of the Bible.

The Place of Tongues in the New Testament

When investigating any doctrine in the Bible, it is important to observe where the information is found, and where it is not found. It is significant to notice any indication which might be given in the context concerning the relative importanee of the doctrine in comparison with other doctrines of the Word of God. This point is especially true with reference to the gift of tongues. Several points clearly indicate the place of tongues in the New Testament.

References to the gift in the New Testament. The gift of

tongues is specifically mentioned in only two books of the New Testament. There are three passages in Acts which mention this gift (Acts 2:1–13; 10:111:18; 18:2419:7). These verses are primarily descriptive in nature. They relate experiences of early disciples when tongues were manifested. The second book containing references to the gift is 1 Corinthians (1 Cor 12–14). These chapters are primarily expository in nature. They indicate such ...

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