This is just a little ‘did you know’ informational post on the subject of speaking in tongues, shared as some food for thought. It goes along with a previous blog where I stated, “Did you know that there are only three instances in the entire book of Acts where it is said that believers spoke in tongues? They are Acts 2, 10 and 19. (Acts 8 cannot be included as it never once mentions tongues…)”

languages

Acts 8 should not be included in the list of passages in Acts which show believers speaking in tongues simply because it never once mentions them.

I believe Acts 8 should not be included in the list of passages in Acts which show believers speaking in tongues simply because it never once mentions them. It is not good practice to assume or read into the scripture and base doctrine upon that assumption. Do you really want what you believe and teach to be based on assumptions?

Even United Pentecostal General Superintendent David Bernard, in The New Birth, admits that this is assumed when he writes on page 231, “The account of Acts 8 of the Samaritans who received the Holy Ghost does not explicitly mention speaking in tongues; it gives no description of signs of their Spirit baptism. …It is logical to assume that this sign was speaking in tongues.”

So why is this assumed? It is based upon two thoughts:

  • 1) Simon practiced sorcery in Samaria and he offered the apostles money to have the ability to lay his hands on people so they would receive the Holy Spirit. It is said he would not have done so if nothing visible happened.
  • 2) In the three instances previously mentioned, the believers spoke in tongues after the Spirit came upon them.

Let’s briefly look at these.

Something that is often overlooked is that before the two apostles joined them, Simon had been following Philip all around Samaria. There were paralyzed and lame people healed. Some were possessed and had unclean spirits cast out. Though Simon had bewitched many with his magic, he was impressed by these miracles and signs. He was obviously seeing much more than he had ever done. He had not healed or delivered those people. The NASB says that Simon was “constantly amazed” at what he witnessed.

In this, and considering what Peter said to him after he offered the money, it isn’t surprising that this happened. Simon had just seen a lot of miracles and the laying on of hands may have just been the icing on the cake, so to speak, which prompted him to offer money. Did something happen when Peter and John laid hands on the people? I do not argue against that. Yet we do not know with any certainty what occurred as Luke was silent on the matter. Perhaps they spoke in tongues. Perhaps something else happened.

In Acts 2 and 10, it is clearly stated that they spoke in tongues. Yet in Acts 19, it mentions both speaking in tongues and prophecy, without mentioning if all spoke in tongues and all prophesied, or some did one and some did the other.

Since we have only two instances in Acts where tongues are seen and one where tongues and prophecy are mentioned, is it wise to assume and teach that in Acts 8 it must have been tongues?