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Third Party Testimony III:

Near Death Experiences, Revelations and Tongues

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Question #1:

Hi Bro. Bob,

Greetings again. I really enjoy perusing your site and looking at the myriad of different subjects and topics you cover. It is a blessing to me!

Have you heard of a girl in South America named Angelica Zambrano? She supposedly had a vision from Jesus wherein she saw Heaven and hell. It was most disturbing; sent me into a tailspin some time back that I am only now getting over. If you type in that name on the net, you will be able to read what I am talking about. What is your take on what she said Jesus told her? Her whole story can be read online. All I know is it really shook me up; made me feel like I was going to hell myself.

Thanks again for your time. Maybe you could post your response on your site; I know others have probably read her account and also got shook up.

Keep up HIS good work!

In Jesus,

Response #1:

It's always great to hear from you, my friend – and thanks too for your kind words about this ministry.

Back in the eighteenth and even nineteenth centuries, small pox was often fatal. However, if a person contracted small pox and did not die, the experience of being sick with the disease, although very debilitating, did convey the advantage of immunity from any future possibility of being infected. I am sorry to learn that reading about this supposed "conversation" caused you such spiritual problems, but at least you may look upon it as a form of spiritual small pox: your faith was tested in this way, you suffered, but your faith survived. In the future, no such bogus claim or claims are likely to be able to make any serious headway with you – you know (now) that the truth of scripture is what we are to believe, no matter what we hear or see or feel. The Bible (and its truths) are the truth – not what people (even seemingly godly and well-meaning people) may say which contradicts the Bible. This is a hard lesson to learn – and harder for some than others – but we all have our individual strengths and weaknesses. Yes I will get around to posting this conversation (sometimes it takes a while, apologies). After all, as with small pox, it is better to be inoculated than to have a full-blown case. In spiritual terms, it is better to read about these sorts of false claims at Ichthys, realize that the people involved are only making things up as they go, and thus be immunized without having to suffer anything more than a mild reaction (as opposed to lying spiritually at "faith's death door" from a raging inflammation).

This sort of report you bring up is what I like to call a "third party report". In our day and age – and particularly during the swiftly approaching end times – more than ever before it is imperative that believers gain the proper perspective about such reports. It is very easy to claim something which is not true. It may be just that I am getting older, but it seems to me that people in this world are getting much "better" at lying than has ever been the case in the past. I used to think that the Nazis and the Communists were about as bald-faced as could possibly be – but nowadays one finds pundits on television who say things with absolutely sincere expressions on their faces that would make Hitler and Stalin blush. The same goes – and perhaps goes doubly – when it comes to religion. I say religion (as opposed to Christianity which is a relationship with Jesus Christ) to distinguish those who claim to belong to Jesus from those who truly do. Anyone can claim to be "of Him"; but only those who have been born again through faith in His Person and His work on the cross actually are "of Him". After all, antichrist will actually claim to be Christ, so it is no wonder if those who are doing his and his father the devil's work frequently invoke the Name "Jesus" in spinning their web of lies.

For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.
2nd Corinthians 11:13-14 NKJV

And in their greed they will exploit you for profit by means of their fraudulent teachings (lit., "made up words"). [God's] condemnation upon them long since has not been lying dormant, and [His impending] destruction of them has not been slumbering.
2nd Peter 2:3

One of the ways to identify individuals and groups who are teaching falsehoods is by looking to their motivations. If they are asking for and receiving money, stay away. If they are trumpeting their experiences or teachings and seeking or basking in celebrity, stay away. If they are asking for or demanding allegiance, membership, moving to location XYZ, stay away. If they are requiring others or persuading them to engage in weird or abnormal behavior, stay away. If they are teaching or suggesting things as true which contradict what we know from scripture to be true then – BY ALL MEANS – stay away.

In the case of the instance you report, most of the above applies so there are many indications that these reports should be discounted and the person and group avoided. As your own experience attests, giving heed to such "information" can be spiritually devastating. It's analogous to pornography – attractive on the surface but destructive of spirituality in ways that are perhaps not entirely obvious at first glance. Actually, in some respects it is even worse (if that is possible), because the individual who begins to partake of "information" that is interesting and seemingly "spiritual" may not realize until it is too late that a virulent poison has been introduced into his/her heart – while at least with pornography anyone with a spiritual I.Q. above plant life knows that what he/she is doing is wrong and will lead to bad trouble.

A couple of things that are typical in the particular set of files you report are 1) a very attractive idea – every Christian wants to know more about Jesus, wants to hear from Him personally, and wants more information about heaven; and 2) a very clever technique: this person does what all clever liars do, namely, restrict themselves to embroidering the truth (at least at first), and only later add in things that are bald-faced lies. In this technique, you start with the truth, telling things about "heaven" which are also in the Bible, and so are part of every Bible-believing Christian's thinking anyway. So the Christian listening thinks, "yeah, that's true, so this person must be telling the truth". The next step is to add things which are not in the Bible, but which are not necessarily (or obviously, especially for anyone not very well-versed in the truth of scripture) contradicted by the Bible. So the Christian listening thinks, "yeah, that makes sense; I didn't know that; how interesting!" Finally, once the hook is set, this approach begins to feed in the lies which are the main course; very often these lies themselves will be fabricated out of pieces of truth. For example, there is a hell; some people will be going to hell; add the lie to these truths "anyone who doesn't do whatever I say they have to do will be in that number" – not true (of course): unbelievers go to hell; believers go to heaven (e.g., Jn.3:16-18).

Why would anyone want to perpetrate lies of this sort which can so damage the faith and spiritual growth of believers? The simple answer is that they are under Satan's control and carrying out his plans. But what do they personally gain? First, they gain fame, celebrity, notoriety; for many people this is a drug more powerful than heroin (would anyone in the world have ever heard of Angelica Zambrano apart from these lies?). Second, they often gain money (I don't know, but I would bet there are books that can be bought, DVDs or CDs or tapes that can be bought, places to send contributions, etc.). Third, they often gain control. People of this sort very often gain cult followings. Joseph Smith did the exact same thing with the Mormons, after all, and look at the success he had. You see, once I tell you that you are going to hell and that only I know the answer to how this all works, and once you make the mistake of believing me (rather than believing scripture), then I hold the key. You are now my slave because I am the only one who can give you reassurance that you are not going to hell. I hold your salvation in my hands. I will never ever let you go, because enslaving you was my entire purpose in the first place. Now you will give me all your money. Now you will join my organization. Now you will rearrange your life to suit me. Now you will move to Montana, work my collective farm, and hand yourself and your family over to me to be exploited in every imaginable way, but you will never be free of my lies – until you turn back to the truth.

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."
John 8:31-32 NKJV

Here are some links which discuss this and related issues – do feel free to write back about any of this.

Three False Doctrines that Threaten Faith

The Fall of Man

Third Party reports

Exorcism and third party reports

Heaven and third party reports

Healing and third party reports

Miracles and third party reports

Satan's system of lies

Your brother in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior – who is the only Way of salvation.

Bob L.

Question #2:

Robert, what do you think of Mary K Baxter or others who have claimed to have visited hell or seen visions from Jesus Christ about things that will come to pass? I tend not to believe any of them but I do have a friend who is always sending my links, just wondering what your thoughts are on this. I'm a skeptic when it comes to prophets and my friend and I have argued about this.

Response #2:

Good to hear from you, my friend. As to your question, your skepticism is well-founded. The Lord did not give us a completed Bible and then need to send questionable prophets of the like of this person to "fill in the gaps" after the fact. Following the close of the canon of scripture in the first century, many such spiritual gifts were discontinued as no longer necessary (that is what 1Cor.13 is largely about) – and also to put the spiritual emphasis in the right place, namely, attention to scripture and legitimate Bible teaching ministries which help believers understand scripture (rather than on individuals with "special knowledge" or a "special connection" to God). For if someone really is talking "directly to God" in the way this person claims to have done, then, obviously, we need to be paying attention to her/them more so than to the Bible – and think of the problems that would cause even if legitimate (it is not).

For these reasons, false prophecies of this sort which are even 90% consistent with scripture and not overly obvious as being inconsistent in the other 10% which nevertheless "add new things" are extremely dangerous. That is because when we let things into our hearts which are not in fact true and then believe them as true, then at the very least they will conflict at some point and on some level with the actual truth, and thus may possibly cause us to doubt that truth even as we are giving undue attention to things which are actually false.

I had not heard of this person before but I listened to a small bit of a YouTube promo wherein it was claimed that she was given an extended tour of hell and all the people there. Now "hell" is an English word and somewhat indistinct as a term if not properly defined. By "hell" I, and most people, mean the final state of the unsaved, that is, the lake of fire. But the problem for Ms. Baxter is that we know very clearly from scripture that the lake of fire is currently uninhabited. The first occupants will be the beast and his false prophet, while the rest of the unsaved (along with fallen angels) will not be cast therein until after the last judgment following the millennium. Ms. Baxter does not seem to understand even this most basic (in my view) principle of "hell" – not to mention that Hades also contains Torments (the present place of the unsaved), the Abyss (where some fallen angels are incarcerated), and Paradise (where Old Testament believers resided until their transfer to the third heaven at our Lord's ascension).

As I often remark, believers tend to be more susceptible to these sorts of scams because we have a hard time imagining that a (seeming) fellow Christian would make something like this up (Hitler was fond of this "big lie" strategy, I recall). Alas, the wolves in sheep's clothing are more numerous than we probably have any idea, and so it behooves all Christians to be "wise as serpents" even as we strive to be "innocent as doves" (Matt.10:16; cf. Rom.16:19; 1Cor.14:20) – especially the closer we get to the end times:

Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.
Revelation 19:20 NKJV

In addition to the truth that God is not giving special revelation to anyone at this point in time (all truth has to come from scripture or natural revelation), another important point to recognize and emphasize here is that what we have to do with in this case is a third party report. That is to say, not only did we not see or hear such things ourselves, but we also are not hearing this directly from the supposed recipient of the revelation: all this "information" has been filtered through some marketing device (book, website, dvd, etc.) which is most definitely not inspired (as the Bible most definitely is). Here are some links which deal with this subject in more detail:

Beware of third party reports I

Beware of third party reports II

Beware of third party reports III

Beware of third party reports IV

Beware of third party reports V

Beware of third party reports VI

Beware of third party reports VII

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ who is the truth, the Word incarnate.

Bob L.

Question #3:

Dear Mr. Luginbill

Just today I came across ICHTHYS.COM and I find it very informative for my searching. I find it in accordance with my unfortunately limited knowledge of scripture. But like others searching I am always alert not to be diverged. It always feels comfortable with an abundance of bible references that I can verify for myself.

I am writing because I am curious whether you have heard of the prophetess Maria Divine Mercy, and if yes, what you think of the contents of her messages published on www.thewarningsecondcoming.com ?

May God continue to bless you and give you insight.

Kind regards (writing from Denmark)

Response #3:

Good to make your acquaintance. In answer to your question, the simple answer to what I think of this individual's claims is "not much". Anyone who styles him/herself a "modern day prophet or prophetess" is, in my book, worthy of no further consideration whatsoever. That is because all of the overtly miraculous gifts from the early days of the apostolic period were made to cease even before the apostles passed from the scene (see the link).

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.
1st Corinthians 13:8b-11 NKJV

There was good reason for God to act in this way. Just imagine. If there really were modern day prophets or prophetesses, if people really were getting a word directly from God through tongues, if Jesus really were appearing to people and telling them things which are not in the Bible, then what need would we have of the Bible? Even for those who still thought it to be important, moreover, there would be a great temptation to follow this new exciting information to the detriment of the written Word. And why would anyone spend years in painstaking toil exegeting scripture if God were giving more and "better" (because of being more complete) information to people such as this – and on a silver platter? Indeed, if these sorts of claims (and there are more and more of them in our late day of Laodicea as the end draws ever nearer; see the link) were actually true, it would beg the question of why we had been given a Bible in the first place – since in such a case scripture would seem to be highly deficient through lacking all the "new information" such special gifts were providing. In the days of the apostles, the gifts were absolutely necessary because the canon of scripture was still being written and even those New Testament books which had been penned were not yet widely distributed. Today, however, such is not the case. Today we have the complete Word of God ordained for His Church in eternity past, the perfect written complement to Him who is the Living Word of God, Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior.

Finally, in terms of introduction, if there really were such gifts being given, it is odd beyond comment that they were in (apparent) abeyance until just recently.

I did not spend a tremendous amount of time on this person's website inasmuch as it is the same old story as far as I am concerned: a person who wants attention claims to be specially gifted of God and makes up things out of "whole clothe" (as we say). Inevitably whenever anyone tries to verify the person's "teaching", nothing can be confirmed as true. But what does scripture say?

You may say to yourselves, "How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?" If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.
Deuteronomy 18:21-22 NIV

The problem here, of course, is that one would have to wait until the second advent – exposing him/herself to the events of the Tribulation under the tutelage of a false prophet – to have this falsehood confirmed in the way indicated. However, anyone with a smidgen of spiritual common sense through reading scripture and paying attention to the Spirit will recognize that the sort of things contained on this website you link have nothing to do with the truth.

A few quick observations: 1) the pope – this is a position created by human beings and has nothing to do with scripture; 2) indulgences – another Roman Catholic institution which has nothing to do with grace or truth; 3) new form of the cross – true Christianity is all about a saving relationship with Jesus Christ whereby we are born again through faith in Him (nothing to do with symbols); *4) comets, earthquakes, weather et al.: any correct analysis of what the scripture tells us about the end times will conclude that there are no signs whatsoever prophesied until the Tribulation begins, and that when that happens, there will be no doubt about it for any Christian who has read what scripture has to say on the matter (see the link: "Signs of the Coming Tribulation").

When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. And I saw the seven angels who stand before God, and seven trumpets were given to them. Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.
Revelation 8:1-5

The Tribulation does not begin until the seventh seal of Holy Spirit restraint is released. At that point, after a brief interlude, the Tribulation begins with the signs noted in the verses above, signs which will be visible and audible worldwide. No believer who is paying attention will be able to miss them. But there are no specific signs prophesied to take place before the Tribulation begins. Anything claimed to be so is coming from the human mind of individuals who are merely seeking attention.

Here are some links about related claims with which we are awash today as well as some advice about how to treat them:

Beware of third party reports I

Beware of third party reports II

Beware of third party reports III

Beware of third party reports IV

Beware of third party reports V

Beware of third party reports VI

Beware of third party reports VII

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill

Question #4:

The more of your links I dive into, answering questions I have held for years, the more pop up! (as I see do for other of your fans!) Lately I have been fascinated by reading the NDE’s ( Near Death Experiences) of honest, intelligent Believers that reveal possible BIBLICAL TRUTHS.

Example: Eben Alexander MD is a Neurosurgeon who thought he knew all that could be known about the human brain. Bacterial meningitis put him in a coma for 7 days, that proved to him God and the soul (spirit?) are REAL and death is not the end of personal experience, but a TRANSITION. Still rejected by his many esteemed associates, he is convinced his experiences were as REAL if not MORE REAL than any of his mortal life experiences. Some examples I have read give you goose bumps they are so dramatic and MIRACULOUS to behold. Q – Can man go in and out of the INTERIM configuration have revelations and bring them back when resuscitated?

Response #4:

On your question, I would say two things:

1) Nothing is impossible for the Lord. Also He does give people the experiences they may need individually to lead them to the truth and saving faith. What is amazing to me is how many people in the history of the world have failed to believe even so. This only proves just how arrogant the human heart is by nature, inasmuch as history proves that most people would rather be "captain of their own souls" than submit to the Lord, even though that merely means accepting the Gift of Jesus Christ at no cost when the consequence of refusing to do so is loss of life eternal (for more on this please Bible Basics 4B: Soteriology, section I, "God's Plan to Save You").

2) However, when it comes to things such as you report – and it seems we are being bombarded with these sorts of reports nowadays (and I note that no two are ever exactly alike) – while we can rejoice that the person in question has been given a confirmation of faith or even was led to faith thereby, we should also be very circumspect about building any sort of doctrine upon or basing even the smallest part of our faith upon anything but the Word of God. If the experience being related to us jibes 100% with the Word of God, then we may accept it as true – because the Word of God is true. But we accept it in such cases because we have faith in God's Word, not in the person reporting or that person's report. Also, our acceptance is different from faith. We believe in Jesus Christ and in His Word. As my very much over-quoted favorite Texas mom-and-pop store sign proclaims: "In God we trust – all others pay cash". When it comes to these sorts of reports, believers tend to be very gullible, even if before becoming believers and even if in every other aspect of their lives aside from issues where the supernatural is involved they have tended to be incredibly cynical. This is partially because we Christians are characterized by the love of God; and partially because we know that the unseen is true and are of course eager to see it and be a part of it – and so also to know more about it. The devil knows all this too, and he is working full-time to exploit these tendencies. So while I find no particular harm in a believer being encouraged by a report such as the one you relate, I become very anxious for said person's spiritual welfare if they begin to get too excited about it or put any inordinate stock in it or especially if it leads them to "get involved" with the person/group making the report.

A good first question to ask about such things is "does the individual/group use this exciting report to proclaim Jesus Christ?". If the answer is not an unreserved and resounding "yes!", then right away I become suspicious. There is no "tunnel of light" or whatever one may hear that leads to anything good for anyone who is not a child of God by grace through faith in our dear Lord Jesus. A good second question to ask is "is this person or group benefitting from this exciting report in any way?" If there is a book or video being sold for money, if the person is doing conferences or TV interviews or talks, if there is an organization behind the person that is seeking converts or adherents, these are all good reasons to dampen one's enthusiasm with skepticism. Finally on this point, while it may seem obvious after the fact, it is good to remember that a) you and I were not there and did not experience what person X is said to have experienced; and b) you and I are not even getting this report directly from person X, but from person(s) Y in most cases (and even if it is a book or video or lecture, that is almost the same thing since the "story" has now been groomed, retold, variously remembered, edited and . . . embellished [?]). In short, a "third party report" of some miracle is always going to be of necessity something any believer who follows our Lord's mandate to be "wise as a serpent" (even though innocent as a dove) will want to view with at least a large grain of salt. We know God can do anything. We know He is good. We know about heaven and the interim state and the reality of the wonderful blessings to come anyway . . . from the Bible, a source we can trust without any such reservations. In the end, believers who want to get somewhere in the Christian life and really grow as Jesus would have us grow have to get consistent about putting the truth of the Word of God above everything else, even above what our own eyes see and our ears hear – how much more is that not true of third party reports. Peter, having seen a divine vision of the Second Advent on the the Mount of Transfiguration in the presence of our Lord who was visibly transformed in the presence of Moses and Elijah, makes an amazing statement about this vivid experience:

For I did not follow concocted tales in making known to you the power and the coming return of our Lord, Jesus Christ, but was an eyewitness to His majesty. For when He had received honor and glory from God the Father, these words sounded forth to Him from God's majestic glory: "This is my beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased." And these words I myself heard as they were delivered from heaven, for I was with Him on the holy mountain (cf. Matt.17:1-8). Yet I consider the prophetically inspired Word (i.e. the Bible) even more reliable (i.e. than what I saw with my own eyes). You too would do well to pay the closest attention to this [prophetically inspired Word], just as to a lamp shining in a dark place (cf. Ps.119:105), until the day dawns, and the Morning Star rises (i.e. the Living Word, Jesus Christ, returns), pondering in your hearts this principle of prime importance: no single verse of prophetically inspired scripture has ever come into being as a result of personal reflection. For true prophecy has never occurred by human will, but only when holy men of God have spoken under the direction and agency of the Holy Spirit.
2nd Peter 1:16-21

As the emphasized words above indicate, if one of the greatest apostles considers the Bible more worthy of faith and reliance than such a vision, personally seen and with no doubt about its divine origin, we certainly ought to adopt that attitude towards anything less (to which category all third party reports about things we will never be able to personally confirm certainly belong). Peter's words confirm that it is the power of the Holy Spirit working through the truth of the Word of God we have made our own in hearts by believing it that God's plan is being worked out on this earth. What we see and experience may be wonderful or it may be horrifying. To be truly useful to the Lord, we have to learn not to be overly impressed or in any way knocked off our feet by the things we see and hear in this world. Trusting God and His truth in place of anything this world, the flesh and the devil can throw at us is the true mark of spiritual maturity.

Here are a few links where this important is subject is considered further:

Beware of third party reports I

Beware of third party reports II

Beware of third party reports III

Beware of third party reports IV

Beware of third party reports V

Beware of third party reports VI

Beware of third party reports VII

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Hello again Dr. Luginbill,

I hope all is well with you and your ministry. My question is regarding a specific text found in Daniel. It speaks of the Antichrist as one who understands "dark sentences". What exactly does this mean?

My other question is on Near Death Experiences. What's interesting is that the people who have it see their bodies and even know what the doctors are saying and doing even though there is absolutely no brain activity. They speak of encountering a "being of light" who shows them all of the events of their life in some panoramic view. They sense the hurt of other people they have hurt. I know that evil spirits dwell in other dimensions and it is possible that they are being deceived. However, what confuses me is that this being of light expresses a love that is so great, that it cannot be explained in words. Is it possible for evil spirits to project this type of love as a deception? it seems odd that an evil being can show so much love to us. What is your take of this?

God Bless,

Response #5:

Good to hear from you – hope you are doing well.

Here's my translation of Daniel 8:23:

And at the end of their kingdom (i.e., during the Tribulation), when rebels are being confirmed [in their apostasy], there will arise a stern-faced king (i.e., antichrist), well versed in deception.

Daniel 8:23

This deceptiveness is a well-known characteristic of antichrist, and you can find out much more about what scripture has to say about the beast in CT 3B: Antichrist and his Kingdom (see the link).

As to your other question, if you told me that you personally had had such an experience, this would be a different conversation. What we are talking about here is what I call "third party reports". There are all kinds of problems with accepting what someone you don't know has said or written about what someone he/she doesn't know has "apparently" experienced. It may not be true in the first place, for a variety of reasons (most of these people are selling their experiences for money; they may have been on drugs; they may be exaggerating; they may be nuts; they may be making it up entirely for all manner of reasons, fame and attention for one thing). Christians tend to be gullible about such things, especially if the "information" is supposed to come from a Christian or says something about something we do believe in (such as heaven), but Christ told us to be "wise as serpents" when it comes to this sort of thing, for example:

"Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand. Therefore if they say to you, ‘Look, He is in the desert!’ do not go out; or ‘Look, He is in the inner rooms!’ do not believe it."
Matthew 24:23-26 NKJV

So this ties in nicely with your first question. The days are coming soon when there will be an unprecedented level of deception in the world. The beast will claim to be Christ! And many will believe it, even, sad to say, many believers (see the link: "The Great Apostasy").

We have to remember that third party reports are inherently unreliable, especially when there are any ulterior motives at hand. Even in the case of "believers" reporting on the experiences of "believers", it is has sometimes been the case of the one "experiencing" exaggerating "for the glory of God" and the one reporting further exaggerating "to build up the faith of those who hear". But God doesn't need any help with His truth. He gave us the perfect Bible. If the scriptures were deficient, maybe we would have need of some sort of further independent revelation from Him. As it is, we have all we need. For that reason alone, any time I hear anything like this the first question I ask is "is this 100% consistent with scripture?" If it is not, then it is a lie. The second question is, "is there anything in here which is not also found in scripture in the exact same way? Has something been added to what have in the Bible?" If the answer is yes, then we are also no doubt dealing with a report that is not reliable – and if not 100% reliable (as scripture is) why we would wish to introduce any measure of falsity into our heart? Even a very small crack can sometimes lead to an otherwise strong edifice splitting open and tumbling down as the result of this seemingly small loss of structural integrity.

Some year ago I saw a movie entitled "The Memphis Belle" about the first US B-17 crew to successfully complete 25 missions over Germany in WWII. It seemed "historical" enough, and I had no reason to believe that it was not. However, recently I read a book about the subject, and from what I have learned about the only thing in the movie that is accurate is the fact there was such a plane – everything else was either altered for "dramatic purposes" or entirely made up out of whole-clothe. What's the harm? Personally, I like to know the truth – in all things. If the truth as opposed to fiction masquerading as truth is the rule in putatively historical depictions (where the devil's interest is minimal), how much more so in cases where, through satanic meddling, Christians may be tempted to base, alter or even only slightly color their beliefs on what may not be true . . . at all.

When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
John 8:44b NKJV

Here are some other links which deal with this important subject:

Beware of third party reports I

Beware of third party reports II

Beware of third party reports III

Beware of third party reports IV

Beware of third party reports V

Beware of third party reports VI

Beware of third party reports VII

Healing, Miracles, and Dreams: Sorting the Wheat from the Chaff by biblical Means

The Dangers of Deception during the Tribulation
Deception in the Tribulation

Antichrist's "Great Miracles"

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Good Morning I am trying to find out in what order the bible was originally written? Then I found this site but would like to know your beliefs as I don’t want to study something that is not in the bible. Trust you can enlighten me.

Response #6:

Good to make your acquaintance. Your prudence in evaluating sources is spiritually salutary (see the link: "The Christ Test for Evaluating Bible Teachers"). The objective of this ministry is to teach the truth of scripture, and the material at Ichthys is all Bible teaching. The result is that the "beliefs" about which you ask are not hidden but put forward openly in every study and posting. For general matters, please see the following links:

About the Ichthys Ministry

About the Author

Also, I am happy to answer any specific question you may have about any doctrinal position, so please do feel free to write me back.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill

Question #7:

Many thanks for your quick response. I would like to know your doctrinal position. I believe everything that is in the Word of God. Father Son and Holy Spirit. I also believe that miracles are for today and also speaking in tongues. Don’t hear me wrong, but I love the word of God and want more and more of Him and less of me. I do not believe in religion but I am a Spiritual person in His Name.

Blessings in His wonderful name.

Response #7:

It's my pleasure. As the links given before state, this ministry is not part of any denomination. I'm happy to explain my position on any point of doctrine – and the Bible is replete with doctrine (so when you say "doctrinal position" I would need you to spell out "which doctrine" to be able to give a helpful response). God works miracles all the time. However, we live in an age of deception and deceivers, and it is important for believers to realize that just because someone may claim to be able to "work miracles" does not make that claim true. That is why Jesus told us to be "harmless as doves . . . but wise as serpents" so as not to be deceived. Antichrist will do more false miracles than anyone else in history, and so will his false prophet, so that "because of the signs it was given power to perform on behalf of the first beast, it deceived the inhabitants of the earth" (Rev.13:14 NIV).

On the question of tongues, again, God can do anything; the question is whether or not the Spirit really is presently giving the biblical gift of tongues (which in every case in the Bible is an actual human language which may understood by native speakers of that language). I have never seen any example of this (though I have seen much "false tongues"), and there are good reasons for believing that when Paul says "tongues will cease" in 1st Corinthians chapter thirteen he meant just that. In any case, you can find out much more at the following links:

The Gift of Tongues I

The Gift of Tongues II

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

New Testament Interpretation: Melchizedek, 'Forsake not Assembly', 'Women Remain Silent', Water-Baptism, Tongues, Prophecy, Intervention of Departed Believers.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Hi,

I really enjoyed reading your article on if tongues was Biblical or not. I actually agree with you that in the NT it was intended primarily to reach new people groups with the Gospel in their own language.

However reading 1 Corinthians 14:2 Paul says "indeed no one understands him". In your article though you say tongues is always understandable to someone in some real language.

Please clarify!

Thanks,

Response #8:

Good to make your acquaintance. There are in fact many articles on tongues at Ichthys, some of great length. Since I don't know which one you are referring to, let me paste in here part of one such which deals with this passage about which you ask:

In 1st Corinthians 14:2 Paul is not, in fact, either authorizing or describing "private use of tongues", but is instead presenting his opening salvo for correcting the abuse of the public use of tongues in the Corinthian church. Here is my expanded translation of that verse:

The reason I say this (i.e., in v.1, that you should rather desire gifts that give content such as prophecy) is that a person who speaks [by the Spirit] in a language [not otherwise known to him or his listeners] is speaking not to people (i.e., since his audience doesn't in that case understand the language he's speaking) but to God (who understands everything). For [in such a case] no one is listening to him (i.e., no one is going to even pay attention to a person speaking in another language they don't speak, let alone gain any edification from the experience), but he is speaking by the Spirit (i.e., he himself doesn't even understand the sounds he's making) mysteries (i.e., things that can't be understood without an interpreter).
1st Corinthians 14:2

Thus 1st Corinthians 14:2 is describing the situation Paul is remonstrating against throughout the rest of the chapter, namely, the inappropriate use of the gift of tongues at a gathering of believers. In that context, "no one is listening" – that is what the Greek says (Darby and Young are the only two version I know of who don't mis-translate the verb akouo here as "understand"). The big problem with the false rendering is not that the meaning is so different but that "understand" implies a more general application (i.e., anyone, anywhere, at any time), whereas if I say "and no one is listening to him" (the actual Greek), the phrase can be rightly taken for what it actually is, namely, the situation in these assemblies where individuals were speaking in tongues without an interpreter (i.e., "at that time" or "in this situation"). As this interpretation jibes with everything else Paul has to say about tongues in this context and everywhere else while the generalized "no one understands" does not, the former is much to be preferred to the latter.

I hope this answers your question (please feel free to write back if it does not). Here are a couple of those links (which will lead you to many others):

The Gift of Tongues I

The Gift of Tongues II

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

New Testament Interpretation: Melchizedek, 'Forsake not Assembly', 'Women Remain Silent', Water-Baptism, Tongues, Prophecy, Intervention of Departed Believers.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #9:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

First, I would like to say that I am absolutely addicted to your website. It has been of much help to spiritual development. I certainly appreciate your dedication and objectivity to study of the Word.

I came across one of your posts on spiritual gifts, namely the gift of tongues. I completely respect your position on the subject, and agree that it is better to speak intelligibly in church setting for the purpose of teaching. However, in one of your posts you said that a "tongue" is a language, therefore should be able to be understood by a human. I certainly agree with that, but there are also tongues not understood by man. In 1 Corinthians 14:2, Paul says that, "For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to people but to God. Indeed, no one understands them; they utter mysteries by the Spirit."-NIV If a tongue is always in a human language, why then would Paul say that they do not speak to men but to God?

I personally speak in tongues only during my private prayer times. I have done this for years. I also understand the dangers of a gospel centered around gifts and spiritual excitement. I neither believe that the gift of tongues is required for salvation. I just became a little disheartened by your dismissal of unknown tongues. After all, you implied that a "true" tongue will be understood by a human. If that were entirely true, why would Paul say that the operator of the gift is speaking "mysteries" by the Spirit to God, and that he edifies himself. Is self-edification relative to spiritual growth? It certainly is no substitute for the Word of God, but it does help with conditioning the heart (Good Ground) to receive God's word.

At the end of the day, I believe that it doesn't matter whether one speaks in tongues, or not. I simply don't think it's fair to those that do to speak unknown tongues to be labeled pretenders, or emotional junkies. It's a wonderful gift and should not be discredited because some saints do not operate the gift. We are all brother's and sisters in Christ and should deal with one another graciously.

Response #9:

Good to make your acquaintance, and thank you for your kind words. Let me say first of all that you are very welcome at Ichthys, regardless of any disagreement over any particular teaching. Also, I certainly do not mean to be ungracious to any of my brothers and sisters in Christ in any way, nor do I mean to "label" anyone anything (nor do I think I have done so). This is about a principle of truth, not anything personal. Also, the principle, as it is developed at Ichthys (I will give you links below to the various places where the subject is treated), is not treated in a flippant way – I certainly have given the matter much more thought and consideration than I am comfortable relating. What I teach here on this subject (as in all things) is what I firmly believe scripture teaches.

We walk by faith, not by sight (2Cor.5:7). If a person has been given the gift of tongues by the Holy Spirit, then that Christian has the gift of tongues – regardless of anything I or any other Bible teacher might think or opine. If, on the other hand, a Christian has not been given the gift of tongues by the Holy Spirit, then said individual does not have the gift of tongues, and whatever he or she may doing would not be the operation of the biblical gift of tongues – regardless of what that individual might believe or affirm. This is a question of fact, not opinion.

The Holy Spirit is powerful, but completely invisible to our eyes. His ministry is deliberately one of unseen empowerment. Part of that empowerment of the Church comes in the form of spiritual gifts, but these are severally given (1Cor.12:4; 12:11; 12:29-31), and not always recognized immediately. If I as an individual Christian cannot know that I have been given the gift of pastor/teacher without much time, much growth, much soul-searching, then how can I expect others to know that it is true? We can only know these things through faith when it comes to our own experience; we can only know them through observed effects when it comes to the experiences of others. And that is not as simple as it sounds because our ability to discern, while it grows as we grow spiritually, will never be perfect in this world. That is why we are told to be wise as serpents, even as we strive to be harmless as doves (Matt.10:16; cf. Rom.16:19; 1Cor.14:20): in negotiating the devil's world Christians wish to do no harm to others, but it is also essential to avoid being deceived. The latter is a point that far too few of our brothers and sisters understand, often assuming, on some level, that believing others is somehow on a par with believing the truth of scripture. That is not the case at all. In fact, we ought to make it our practice to believe the Word even when our eyes and our ears and our feelings are telling us something completely different. That is walking by faith: faith in the truth of the Word of God, rather than putting our faith in other people or in what we may initially perceive. Failing to live by this biblical principle has lead many into following all manner of deceptive ministries and false teachings. Failing to live by this biblical principle in the very near future will be a large catalyst for the Great Apostasy as fully one third of believers alive at the time will turn away to follow antichrist – in no small part because of the power of the deceptive miracles he will employ (see the link: "The persuasiveness of tribulational false signs" in CT 3A).

Being resolved to seek solutions to all such matters by scripture and scripture alone (as illuminated by the Spirit), I will try to answer your concerns about 1st Corinthians 14:2, pointing out first that chapters 12-14 of that epistle are of a piece and really need to be considered as a whole (our present-day chapter and verse divisions were invented by Robert Estienne in the 16th century). In chapter 12, Paul tells the Corinthians that he does not want them to be ignorant about spiritual gifts because a person is either being influenced by the Spirit or by demonic and sinful forces (1Cor.12:1-3; cf. Gal.5:17), so we can certainly glean from this that while the true function of the gifts is a wonderful blessing, any misapplication is dangerous in the extreme. These gifts, we are told in vv.4-10, are part of an integrated system designed by God for a very specific purpose: the edification of the Church "for what is spiritually profitable" (v.7). This point is made repeatedly by Paul throughout these three chapters, and thus serves as an essential litmus test for evaluating spiritual gifts, both how they are being used and whether or not they have truly been given to someone: to the extent that the Church is truly being edified, to that extent we may have some confidence in the existence and proper function of a gift; conversely, where improper behavior or confusion is present, we should be skeptical: "all things should be done decently and in order": 1Cor.14:40 RSV).

The theme of the purpose of gifts is continued in chapter 12 from verse 12 to the end of the chapter: we are all one body, and the purpose of our gifts is for the edification of others. Applying this principle to the gift of tongues we come to a conclusion that Paul also will hammer home in chapter 14, namely, its purpose is for edifying the Church as a whole rather than for individual edification (1Cor.14:4 is speaking of encouragement, not information; see below).

In chapter 13, Paul compares the "sign gifts", of which tongues is the preeminent example, to the application of Christian virtue in life (of which virtues love is the preeminent example) and demonstrates that they are nothing in comparison. More than that, he also affirms that all such gifts are only temporary. They will "be deactivated" – and tongues will "cease" (i.e., in the Greek the verb used for tongues is different from the one used for all the others in order to emphasize the point). The reason for this cessation is the end of what is temporary and immature to be replaced by what is permanent and fully grown. Paul uses the analogy of leaving behind the things of childhood once we grow up; just so, the Church will leave behind the "sign gifts" when it has matured enough to do so. These statements not only demonstrate the point of cessation and the relative importance of the proper Christian walk of love (which is informed by scripture, empowered by the Spirit, and made possible through spiritual growth), but they also, if properly considered, demonstrate the danger of giving too much attention to things which are of less rather than more importance especially to the detriment of the latter – that is Paul's Q.E.D., and it applies all the more so once the cessation actually takes place. The upshot of all this is that engaging in sign gifts even during the period of the apostles was something that could easily get out of control and invert the true priorities of the Church and of individual Christians. How much more so is that not true now that the apostolic period has come to an end? And if a person is engaged in such practices illegitimately, the dangers compound exponentially.

Many people argue about what "the perfect" is here in verse 10. I am convinced that the Bible is meant (what is more "perfect and complete" than the Word of God?). But even for those who wish not to see this as the definitive interpretation, quite clearly this "perfect" is what comes after "the temporary" passes, so that what we have after the apostles would seem to be necessary to understand in any case. That would certainly include the Bible – just as it would necessarily exclude the "sign gifts" which are "going to cease" and which are compared to things of infancy rather than the things of maturity. Putting off this "time of the complete" to some still yet future period so far beyond the end of the apostles would turn what Paul is saying in this chapter upside down, since he is clearly trying to get the Corinthians to pay more attention now to love (i.e., a correct Christian walk based upon actual spiritual growth), rather than deferring it to some indefinite future time: the whole point is to promote virtue now over "sign gifts" (employed now but on the point of fading away even then).

In chapter 14, the place of origin of your question, we find much more about tongues, but all in the same vein. Paul begins in the first verse by telling us that prophecy, a "sign gift" which has indeed been "deactivated" in our day, is preferable to tongues, and the reason is important: it contributes more to the edification of the Church, the whole purpose of spiritual gifts as Paul has been emphasizing since the beginning of this three chapter section. Let me pass over verse two briefly to put it into the context of the rest of the chapter. In verses 6-10 Paul tells us that all tongues are actual languages: there is no such thing as a language/tongue (the same word in Greek: glossa) not meant to convey meaning (v.10). It is for this reason that Paul tells those with the gift to "pray for an interpreter" (1Cor.14:13), and also forbids the use of the gift in the church without such an interpreter (1Cor.14:27-28) – precisely because that is the only way that the meaning inherent in the tongue can be made accessible and result in the Church's edification. It is only for those who "don't know the meaning" that there is confusion (v.11), and all this certainly begs the question of why, if the gift of tongues is still actually being given, the gift of interpretation, so absolutely crucial to making use of that gift in the Church, is not also being given? Since for functioning in the Church and providing edification for the Church (the purpose of all gifts) interpretation is necessary, it certainly needs to be explained why the one gift would be given now but not the other.

Throughout these chapters we find tongues associated with other "sign gifts", and in particular later in this chapter, chapter 14, we find that "tongues are for a sign" (1Cor.14:22) – not for believers, but for unbelievers. Herein we see the primary function of the gift, viz., the evangelizing of unbelievers by making the gospel known to them in their own language, just as happened on the day of Pentecost. The events of that day are good to remember in this context, inasmuch as we are told of many particular languages given to the assembled believers in Jerusalem, all of which were real languages understood by those who had come to town for the festival – and they all did understand what was being said "in our own languages" (Acts 2:8). No tongue is without meaning (1Cor.14:10). So the use of tongues among believers in the local church is not the primary use of the gift but a secondary use, and one upon which Paul is compelled to place definite limitations for the proper order of the meeting: no tongues without interpretation of that tongue so that the meaning can be made clear for the edification of the Church.

This brings us back to your question:

The reason I say this (i.e., in v.1, that you should rather desire gifts that are more content-focused, such as prophecy) is that a person who speaks [by the Spirit] in a language [not otherwise known to him or his listeners] is speaking not to people (i.e., since his audience doesn't in that case understand the language he's speaking) but to God (who understands everything). For [in such a case] no one is listening to him (i.e., no one even is going to pay attention to a person speaking in another language they don't speak, let alone gain any edification from the experience), but he is speaking by the Spirit (i.e., he himself doesn't even understand the sounds he's making) mysteries (i.e., things that can't be understood without an interpreter).
1st Corinthians 14:2

This is my understanding of the verse you ask about (n.b., "by the Spirit" rather than "spiritually" or "in his spirit"), and, given the context of the three chapters, I don't see any other way it can be read. The "mysteries" are truths from God which are not accessible – that is what "mystery" means everywhere in the New Testament – albeit usually in the context of these mysteries having been revealed in Jesus Christ so as to have now become accessible to the Church. So a "mystery" is a good thing – if it is revealed. But until it is revealed, it is of no practical use. That is why the mysteries spoken in a tongue need to be interpreted for there to be a benefit. Paul is thus not praising the private function of tongues in verse two (as the context certainly makes clear even without illuminating these things), but rather explaining the problems with that gift, if not properly employed. The one thing this verse cannot be made to do, I firmly believe, is to posit a category of tongues which are not actual languages. Paul says exactly the opposite throughout these chapters many times (esp. 1Cor.14:10, just a few verses later), and while verse two does not contradict these other verses if we understand it as explained just above, if we were to posit unknown and unknowable tongues there would be clear and irreconcilable contradictions with Paul's many other statements in these three chapters (for starters). So the "edification of himself" in verse four is not through communication of meaning (since no one understands without interpretation), but rather through the emotional encouragement that is given by a visible and tangible sign of the Spirit's ministry to all who have legitimately received that gift. Paul later affirms that this is true also of himself (in vv.13-19), but in the context of preferring interpretation to such a significant degree that he would rather speak "five words [i.e., a complete sentence] with my understanding, that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue". No doubt it is precisely this emotional edification of the personal experience of tongues (vv.2-4) that made it so powerfully open to abuse at that time . . . and thus in need of such extensive apostolic regulation.

Where does this leave the private function of tongues today? Even if the gift were legitimate, we should say with Paul that it ought to be de-emphasized (1000 to 5), and carefully regulated (pray that someone interprets). But what if the same desire to have that emotional edification and sign of the Spirit leads some – and it has lead at least some – to convince themselves or to let themselves be convinced that they are speaking in tongues when such is not really the case? This situation has such potentially negative consequences that it would in my view be better for anyone who might even actually have the gift to be careful about making any sort of a point about it to others. Entire "denominations" have been built upon the exploitation of the simple-minded by trumpeting this "gift" – and tempting others who wish to have a similar "blessed experience" to go beyond what is written in scripture and to arrogate to themselves things the Spirit has not actually given them. I am certainly not accusing you of any of this. For all I know, you may actually have the gift of tongues. God is certainly free to do as He wills to do! However, I can say that in my reading of scripture 1) that gift has ceased to be given at present; and 2) anyone who has ever had the true gift of tongues has always spoken in an actual language (and if what is being spoken is not a real, human language, then what we have is not the gift of tongues but something else).

Whatever gifts we have or do not have, Jesus loves us. And He has a ministry for us. One of the major drawbacks of being over-focused on things which may not be true is that we may miss the things which are. In other words, if a person is satisfied with "speaking in tongues" but that is not really the gift the Spirit has given, said person runs the risk of missing out on the actual gift or gifts given and meant to be exploited in the service of Jesus Christ.

You are my brother in the Lord, and the above is written in love and concern. I certainly will not break fellowship with you even though I am skeptical; I hope the same will be the case with you. Here are some links where these issues are discussed further (and please do feel free to write me back):

The Gift of Tongues I

The Gift of Tongues II

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

New Testament Interpretation: Melchizedek, 'Forsake not Assembly', 'Women Remain Silent', Water-Baptism, Tongues, Prophecy, Intervention of Departed Believers.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #10:

Thank you Dr. Luginbill for responding to my question. I don't quite understand how you were able to interpret that the gifts have ceased from scripture, but if you are correct and the Holy Spirit did in fact lead you to this conclusion, then my zeal for God and the gifts He has given me, along with my love for His people must be some sort of delusion. But the gift of tongues is not the only gift I have experienced. I have seen events in visions before they happened. I Have been able to discern evil spirits. The Lord certainly leads me in prayer. I have been able to witness to people and see them convicted with Godly sorrow. Once he had me labouring in prayer for someone for over a week straight. After the burden left. I found out the person had survived seven strokes and a heart attack. That's when I realized It was God's leading. You are very intelligent and you know how to interpret the Bible. The Holy Spirit has literally fell on me sitting my living room in such a way that when I was finished praying it was like every burden or care or bad feeling disappeared and was replaced with immense love. It was like nothing I have ever experienced. It changed my life and caused me to fall in love with Christ. I know you are skeptical, but if I am saved and zealous for God. That means I am indwelt with the Holy Spirit just as you are, that also means he convicts me just as he does you. Then if these gifts are not of God, then are they from the devil? But how can one worship God and praise Christ for his virgin birth, sinless life, undeserving death for our behalf, and resurrection, and be under some demonic influence? Are only some gifts ceased? One can't praise both God and the devil. And as stated in your article Christians cannot be possessed by a demonic force. A demon cannot dwell with the Holy Spirit, right?

Response #10:

You are very welcome. To answer your first question first, in my view, 1st Corinthians 13 teaches the cessation of the gifts in plain English (in any version – and even more clearly in the Greek: "if there are tongues, they will be stopped"). This was also explained in the last email (paragraphs 6 and 7). Further discussion may be found at the links provided (and see in addition this link: "the perfect in 1Cor.13"). I might also add here that in verse ten "the perfect" is contrasted with "knowledge" and "prophecy" – in other words, the Bible is the complete repository of true knowledge and all prophecy . . . once it is complete (which it was not at time of writing which is why these particular gifts were necessary in the interim period). And, by the way, the verbal/knowledge parallel of the "Paul's day partial" to the "soon to become complete" (canon of scripture) is continued by Paul in verse 11 (immature vs. mature "speaking, thinking, reasoning"), and in verse 12 (incomplete present vision and knowledge versus eventual absolute vision and knowledge – parallel to partial versus complete canon at time of writing). So the whole chapter focuses on the need to recognize that the overtly miraculous things with which the Corinthians were enamored (and to a large extent abusing) were temporary, incomplete and immature, and would soon be replaced by the permanent, complete and mature – the Bible and its perfect truth.

Additionally, we may also observe that these sign gifts have ceased. To wit, I know of no case of anyone ever actually having legitimately interpreted a person speaking in tongues in my lifetime, nor of anyone speaking in an actual language they did not understand (to distinguish the biblical gift from intonation of sounds that are not language), nor of anyone being able to heal (in actuality) by laying on of hands, nor of anyone actually getting and giving a verbal message directly from God. If the sign gifts were still operational, given the vast number of Christians in the world today, surely, they would be ubiquitous (as opposed to being merely anecdotal – and in each case with the anecdote dissolving upon investigation). This is not proof – since it is based upon observation and experience rather than the Bible – but it does need to be explained by proponents of the view that sign gifts are still being given, at least if they wish to have a hearing.

As to the other things you mention here in your email and the other experiences you relate, I have no problem believing any of these other things and their legitimacy, although I would characterize them differently – we do indeed all have the Spirit within us and we are indeed all gifted in one way or another, and the Spirit manifests Himself in wonderfully multifarious ways: discernment, zeal, guidance, empowered prayer – these are all things which I would hope every believer who is following Jesus through the Spirit's lead would be experiencing (regardless of how they are personally interpreted or expressed). So I see nothing inconsistent here with my understanding of scripture or the positions presented previously.

I must also point out again that we start with scripture, and then move on to experience. If scripture is clear and contradicts our experience, we may be moved to challenge our interpretation, but not to overthrow what we see the Bible clearly teaching. If push comes to shove, the Bible trumps even what our ears seem to hear and our eyes seem to see and our feelings seem to feel. But as I say, I have no problem with the Spirit ministering to you and through you in many wonderful ways. The gifts that I would argue which are not being given are preeminently the ones listed in 1st Corinthians 12:8-10 (i.e., prophecy and tongues preeminently, along with miraculous knowledge and abilities to manipulate things in miraculous ways; healing included), that is, gifts which are so obviously miraculous that they witness to the power of God in an unmistakable way – as opposed to requiring faith. That is, I would say, another reason for the cessation. Things now are all about faith for believers in Christ. To the extent that we wish to pin our faith on supposed manifestations of the Spirit which we can see and hear and feel, to that extent we will not be building our faith in trusting God when we cannot see, hear or feel the outcome of what we hope for . . . yet.

"Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed!"
John 20:29 NKJV

Spiritual growth comes from believing in the truth of the scriptures, applying it to life, and helping others do likewise. Temporary emotional edification which does not last in the crunch is all that can be expected from witnessing unmistakable miracles. The Israelites saw the Lord part the Red Sea and destroy the entire Egyptian army – but it did them little good "not having been mixed with faith" (Heb.4:2). This is why Peter can say that the "prophetic Word" is "more sure" than the vision he was given of the second advent on the Mount of Transfiguration (2Pet.1:19) – because the truth of scripture believed is the key to all things in the Christian life. No experience, however sublime, can compare to the Spirit's still, small voice speaking to us . . . and He does this only through scripture at present.

In some (I hope) short time, I will be posting part 5 of the Basics series, "Pneumatology". When I do, I hope you will see that the Spirit and His ministries are of the utmost importance to me personally – and of course fundamental to the proper function of the Church and the believer in this age. All the more reason to understand them precisely and correctly, and to access them in truth at all times.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Thank you Dr. Luginbill

Response #11:

You're very welcome.

Feel free to write any time. You are always most welcome at Ichthys – even if we don't see exactly eye to eye on all things. Given that this ministry strives to cover the entire realm of doctrine and answer any and all question on the Bible, that would be a unique occurrence in any case!

Yours in our dear Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #12:

While praying with someone out loud I interrupted because I wanted to add something. Then he said "oh I'm just going to change to the Holy Spirit to talk cause you keep on interrupting me" and he started talking in tongues that sound like he was repeating the same sounds over and over again. Help me; is this how this works?

I don't know what to think about this. Thank you!

Response #12:

Good to make your acquaintance. The gift of tongues, as in the case of most patently miraculous gifts, was an apostolic gift given during the first century to buttress the authority of the apostles and build up the nascent Church which did not as yet have any structure or depth . . . or even a complete Bible (not until ca. 68 A.D.). Tongues was a gift focused on evangelism wherein a person who did not speak some actual human language could nonetheless be used of the Holy Spirit to give the gospel message of salvation through Jesus Christ to other people who spoke that "tongue" which he/she did not otherwise speak (see Acts chapter 2). It was also used (and apparently abused) in local church services; Paul corrects the Corinthian congregation on this matter by telling them in chapters 12-14 of 1st Corinthians that tongues should only be employed in such a capacity if there is someone present with the gift of interpretation who could then translate what the person with the gift of tongues was saying through the Spirit.

Tongues, therefore, is a very specific spiritual gift given to some but not all Christians during the early days of the Church (cf. 1Cor.12:30: "do all speak in tongues?"); it is the ability to speak out actual words of another language for the purpose of edifying the listeners. What tongues is not is a mindless repetition of meaningless syllables uttered for no apparent spiritual purpose by the will of the person concerned and without the WILL of the Spirit. Whenever I have observed this phenomenon in the present day, it has always been a case of the latter and not the former, and, indeed, I have never seen a documented case of anyone who actually had the genuine gift of tongues. God is certainly capable of doing anything, and He most certainly could and can give someone the genuine gift of tongues. But this is an honor given by God and not taken up by us at our pleasure. Just because a person chants meaningless syllables does not mean he/she actually has the gift. You find out more about this at the following links:

The Gift of Tongues I

The Gift of Tongues II

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

New Testament Interpretation: Melchizedek, 'Forsake not Assembly', 'Women Remain Silent', Water-Baptism, Tongues, Prophecy, Intervention of Departed Believers.

Is Speaking in Tongues a sin?

Is "speaking in tongues" biblical?

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #13:

Hi Bob

I was just reading the some of the email ‘questions and answers’ [posted 2/9/13] as regards ‘tongues’. I have never had any experience of the Lord which could be called ‘tongues’. However, I must admit that others close to me do experience this. We have had long discussions on this matter and have read the many views (from many Bible commentators) without any real consensus being reached. One person described the experience to me as follows:

"I was struggling to pray about a certain issue in my life and after days of bringing it to the Lord I could just not seem to be able to articulate my issue clearly. Not only that but I did not seem to understand all its nuances and implications myself. I just ‘fell’ before the Lord and without realizing it a gush of weird phrases flowed from me. There was not ecstatic strangeness about it. The words were just there. After a few moments I felt as if an unquenchable thirst had been satisfied. Not only that my need to articulate it was relived but I also seemed to understood at a new level. My closeness to the Lord has deepened as a result. It has only occurred once."

I find that this is typical of the type of ‘tongues’ people often experience. I realize that this ‘language’ is presumably not a known one but most of these folks seem to suffer no harm –on the contrary – the seem to have a deepened relationship with the Lord. Is this perhaps not an example of the type of tongues referred to by Paul in 1 Corinthians 14:18. Perhaps it is one of those natural human abilities which seem to be turned off for most. (They type of abilities such as evidence by savants?). Perhaps the Lord can turn something ‘on’ as it were which IS meaningless but allows extra-natural expression as an aid. Just a thought.

Yours in the Lord

Response #13:

Good to hear from you again. Paul actually says, at 1st Corinthians 14:18 "in a tongue" rather than "in tongues" (glossa is singular in Sinaiticus and other early mss., though later scribes misunderstood and wrongly changed to the plural in part of the ms. tradition). In other words, he is speaking of a single, actual language wherein he was gifted. He does not specify what language he means, but it was an actual language, as his discussion in the context makes clear (just one otherwise unknown to him, absent the gift, or to most of his Greco-Jewish audience, absent an interpreter).

There are a wide variety of experiences people report in regard to "speaking in tongues". The reports you pass on are similar to things I have heard as well, but not identical to many others and very different from some. Having heard a lot of these reports before and many different descriptions, I would not wish to let this particular type of experience stand as the rule. Indeed, the wide variety of different experiences is, in my view, a strong argument against taking the practice as having anything whatsoever to do with the biblical gift of tongues.

A stronger argument, of course, is the one I make repeatedly from scripture to the effect that tongues are languages and the gift is meant for evangelism – and also for the edification of the early Church in conjunction with the gift of interpretation only. Personal emotional release is not something that can be associated with the practice, at least not from the Bible. For the most recent discussion on this please see "tongues and the baptism of the Holy Spirit" in the posting on Pneumatology.

It's great to feel closer to God. That is what we all want. It's great to get a deeper understanding of Him and of His truth. That is what we all should want. But there are no short-cuts in the Christian life, and those who try to find and take them always end up injuring themselves spiritually in the long run. Emotion is unpredictable. It may have a person on "cloud nine" today, but down in the darkest of the dumps tomorrow. True Christian spiritual maturity entails the ability to rally one's emotions when they are down and restrain them when they are getting out of hand. This is done through the actual Holy Spirit whose power is accessed through our near term will in listening to and obeying Him as He makes His WILL known through reminding us of the truth, and through our long term will in learning and believing that truth of the scriptures which He makes real to us.

Trying to substitute emotionalism for this process is all the rage in many Christian circles today. Indeed, it seems as if the vast majority of Christians today are either seeking out this sort or similar sorts of excitement, or are embracing elaborate ritual as (poor) substitutes for learning, believing and applying the truth of the Word of God. That is where the real power resides: the Word of God. Nothing else comes close.

Having tested these things repeatedly and having seen the consequences and the results of bad approaches versus the one good approach many times, I am strong on this point. Not because I wish to disappoint anyone or ruin someone else' experience. We are all free to do as we please. No, I understand the damage this sort of thing does in the long run, even if it seems to be a great blessing in the short run.

The truth is the truth. Either we have the Holy Spirit or we do not. If we do, it is ill-advised to be seeking out some "baptism" which has already occurred at salvation (Rom.8:9). And either we have the gift of tongues or we do not. If we do not, it is very dangerous in a spiritual sense to engage in something like what may pass for that lapsed gift today. It is easy enough to rationalize the acceptability of all manner of behaviors which do not comport with the Bible and the truth. But it is not spiritually safe. And it clearly does not lead to spiritual growth, true production for the Lord, and a good report before Him on that great day of days.

The Spirit is much misunderstood. He does not violate our will. That is not God's way. We are here to make choices, not to have them jammed down our throats. That is why the road ahead is so challenging. The Spirit guides, but He does not drag. Therefore we actually have to choose day by day and step by step to listen to Him. If we choose to follow our own ways, that is easy enough to do. The road downward and the road backward and the roads sideways are easy and may seem "fun". The right road leads upward, and it is narrow. It is not anything like impossible to tread, and it is enjoyable to take for those who let go of themselves and give themselves over to the Lord instead. It is the road of truth.

When we are doing the right thing, we may in fact very well 'feel' bad because of the cost. We may very well 'feel' frustrated and tired because of the opposition. But how we feel is of absolutely no import. We should not even believe what our eyes see or our ears hear – if it does not line up with scripture. Far less should we pay attention to our emotions if they are resisting what we know by faith in the truth in our hearts mined from the holy scriptures and illuminated by the Spirit to be God's WILL. This process of true spiritual growth is often not "fun"; and it is always opposed by the evil one, especially in the case of those who are actually making progress. Little wonder, then, that so few are willing to march up that road, while so many are sitting down instead and proclaiming themselves "closer to God". But we who have committed ourselves to do things His way know that there is no cheap or easy way to closer fellowship with the Lord or to spiritual growth or to the production that actually glorifies Him. There is only one way: Jesus Christ's way. And how else could we ever really know what is His way if not through the words of Him who is the Word?

Since He is the truth, let us embrace His truth with all of our hearts, putting aside every stumbling block and every other thing which exalts itself above the true knowledge of God (2Cor.10:5) – regardless of what anyone else may say or think . . . or feel.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #14:

Hi Bob

Thank you for the very intense answer. I must first say that really appreciate your detailed answer. I must say that I sense a sort of ‘personal hurt’ in your view. I cannot quite see why this is and I might well be totally mistaken. My apologies if I am in error.

I have read Corinthians this afternoon again and I must say that in the two main translations I am reading (NIV and AMST) it suggests to me that it was an unusual and unknown language was generated. I do not want to dismiss the possibility that a genuine spiritual ‘gift’ may well be in use. However I must add that I have heard many people speaking in tongues in various churches and all seem to me to be nonsense. Real language has a sort of ‘sound’ to it which my common sense tells me is not present. This is why I wonder if it is not a natural phenomenon of some sort. Sort of like crying but articulated through words. I.e. nothing supernatural at all.

This has become a very hot topic in our area (Stellenbosch, South Africa) where a number of VERY charismatic churches have popped up. All of them teaching that one is not a real believer unless one has ‘received your tongues’. A very worrying trend. It is very difficult to stand firm with an apparently boring and old fashioned view. I am thus grateful for your very comprehensive and scriptural analysis of this phenomena.

It is sufficient for me to know that the Spirit of the Lord is in me and I am part of His Body. I am overjoyed at this miracle which I know by faith and with this I am well pleased. I am His.

Yours in Christ

Response #14:

There are some problems with NIV's renderings in these chapters (both the 1984 and newer unidentified version). I'm not an ASB user – we were using NASB even when I was in seminary many years ago. Nevertheless, I see the main issue here as being very clear in any version. Paul is remonstrating with the Corinthians for improper use of tongues in chapters 12-14 (agreed?). His corrective to their wrong-headed practices is to have an interpreter present so that the words spoken may be understood by all (agreed?). One of the main arguments he uses for his position in this section is the fact that every language has meaning (agreed?). Since Paul's whole approach is to support language that is understood and to cast blame upon language which is not understood, how is that anyone can support the idea of babbling without meaning and without any possibility of anyone making the meaning clear? So just from the context, whatever position one want's to take on the nature of the languages in question, we can say of a certainty that 1) these are languages of some sort meant to be understood; 2) the gift is given so that the meaning may be understood so as to edify believers and evangelize unbelievers; and, critically, 3) speaking in a "tongue" is inappropriate unless someone can understand it – since the whole purpose is for the communication from God to be understood. For these reasons, the very least we can say is that people who claim to have this gift should never use it unless there is someone capable of receiving the truth of God's message – assuming we really have to do with God's message in these contemporary cases (which in my considered opinion we do not).

One of the key charges against current "tongues" as opposed to the biblical gift of tongues is just that: we Christians are to be all about the truth, but how can gibberish have anything in common with the truth?

Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?
1st Corinthians 14:6 KJV

If therefore the whole church be come together into one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those that are unlearned, or unbelievers, will they not say that ye are mad?
1st Corinthians 14:23 KJV

I have never heard a person speaking in what passes today for tongues claim they understood what they were saying. I have heard of some people claiming to be able to interpret the tongues-messages, but gauging from the content of the interpretations which I personally have heard, well, let's just say that I am beyond skeptical. Today, we have the completed canon of scripture. What that means is that we have God's complete message in the Bible. And there is plenty there that we don't yet understand or know as well as we should. How is it then that we are seeking some new source of truth? Furthermore, the Spirit deals with truth, actual truth, and it is biblical truth that is the lever He uses to move our hearts, whispering to us about the actual truth we have actually believed. How would He be empowering activities where the meaning is incomprehensible – especially when they distract from actually learning and believing the Bible?

Part of the problem is the archaic nature of the word "tongue". In the 17th century when the KJV was translated the word meant "language" with no mysterious connotations. Indeed, that is exactly what the word glossa in Greek means in such contexts: "language". If instead of "tongue/tongues" we all had "language/languages" in our Bibles where the word glossa occurs in the Greek text (in this section and elsewhere), I doubt this fad would have nearly as much cachet. So translations do matter. Please feel free to pass on any verses on this issue that are troubling you, and I will do my best to sort things out.

Finally, as you very correctly do see, the notion that speaking in Charismatic tongues is a requirement for salvation or a test of whether or not a person is saved is very far from anything having to do with the Bible. That is a feature of our Laodicean age as the end draws near, and all indications are that this trend will grow worse before it grows better (see the link). This lukewarm attitude of preferring excitement to the difficult work of learning the scriptures and their doctrines, believing and applying them, does help to explain how one third of the Church will be so spiritually unprepared so as to apostatize during the Tribulation, but that is no comfort for those of us who care deeply about the spiritual safety of our fellow believers. It is not hurt I feel, but grave concern. Many things are spiritually debilitating – all sin is, for example. But when persons begin to proclaim they have gifts they do not actually have, are receiving communications from God they are not actually receiving, and are better than other Christians as a result, in truth they are not far from the edge . . . and they are heading towards it at a dangerously fast pace.

Keep fighting the good fight of faith, my friend!

In Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #15:

Hi Bob

You make many valid and valuable points. I think that the phenomena of tongues is to some extent a replacement for actual faith. It is easier to believe when something tangible is happening, particularly when one's emotions are dramatically influenced. As humans, we tend to believe that our emotions are a consequence of some reality. When we have some sort of ecstatic experience we look for a cause and the absence of common ‘real world’ emotion-inducing events makes it easy to link the experience to a supernatural ‘blessing’. We assume we are in the right place with God and we are on the narrow path. Our pronouncements become prophecy, our decisions become ‘the Lords leading’ and the scriptures become superfluous – after all, we have a hotline to God. Who can dare argue. You are so right about the need to base all on God’s word.

Just out of interest; which translation do you consider to be the most useful for someone like myself who has no desire in examining Greek or Hebrew texts. I would rather leave this to folks who have actually made it a life’s work and thus know what they are doing. I must say that I really like the New King James despite the fact that so many people seem to regard it as being a poor translation. I worship at a local Baptist church (not an actual member) and they seem to have adopted the NIV as a ‘acceptable’ translation. I find it ok but it does seem to ‘flow’ and as a result, interrupts my train of thought when reading.

Thanks again for the amazing effort you put into answering all of us who write and comment. Yours is truly a labour of love. A wonderful example and a great blessing to many. In fact I have referred an number of folks to your site and they are finding it a great blessing. One bloke has been so encouraged that he has recommitted himself to walking the narrow path. He told me that so many things were answered that all his doubts were put to rest. "Finally", he said "Someone with intelligent answers".

I pray that the Lord greatly bless your life and ministry for this work.

Yours in our Gracious Lord Jesus

Response #15:

Very well said, and thanks so much for all of your good words and for you recommendation of this site.

As to Bible versions, I think the NKJV is an excellent version, and find myself using it more and more. It was designed to be a simple updating of the language of the KJV, but it is more than that in places, depending upon who did the translating. One of my seminary professors was involved in that project many years ago, and I remember him saying that the committee in charge was very much determined on complete secrecy on that issue. Still and all I find it a very serviceable alternative to the NASB, a version known for its (often unreadable) "literality". If you are happy with that version, I think that it would do very well. I do like the 1984 NIV very much (less so the unnamed new version which has replaced it), but when it is wrong, like the curly-headed little girl, it is "awful". The NLT is the same only more so: wonderful until it is wrong and in those (far too frequent cases) terrible. I usually advise readers to find a version that speaks to them, but then to cross check all passages which seem to tell them "something different" from what they believe on doctrinal issues (because it could be a case of the translators falsely interpreting the underlying meaning). There is much to say about versions and issues of translations, and I am happy to answer any specific question you have about those issues or particular passages too. Here are some recommended links:

*Read your Bible

New Bible Translations:  Part of a Conspiracy?

Tools and Techniques for Bible Translation

Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations I

Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations II

Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations III

Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations IV

Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations V

Bible translation and John 8:58

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #16:

Hi Bob,

I have been sharing teachings from your ministry lately in a group which is called "speaking in tongues - biblical or not?". When the group was an open group, many people could see my posts and were not pleased that I was not very favorable overall of the modern tongues movement. Some emailed me about it or shared their thoughts on my page. One particular lady though was very unique. She was one of the extremely rare ones who was kind, gracious, and polite, but yet she shared with me that she spoke in tongues and that it truly was very real. Her kind mannerisms truly surprised me since I usually experience people who get very defensive, emotional, and angry. She was so loving and dear and I could not help but think that she truly loved the Lord, and I feel very confident that she does. She is not speaking in tongues out of a lust for power, or to be seen by others as "gifted", or for any other selfish reason I truly believe. She was really beginning to convince me that perhaps I'm a bit too closed minded, or I'm lacking in understanding somewhere in this issue. Perhaps I am lacking in understanding somehow, but my thoughts on this issue line up 100% with yours.

Anyway, I did pray last night about what she wrote to me, and I asked the Lord to help me please know how to respond to her. Then this morning I did feel a response upon my heart for her and this is what I wrote (plus I wrote a few nice words commending her for her kind personality):

Dear ___________,

I do not doubt that it is a true possibility that your tongues may be real (a real human language), but I do have to test all things as the teachings of God's word tells me to do. These are some of the test questions and thoughts that occurred to me this morning:

1.) What exact language are you speaking in (what exact human foreign language), and how exactly did you prove this?

2.) What are the exact words you are saying in this foreign language, and how did you prove this? (Please do not say things such as you have the gift of interpretation, because that proves nothing to me. I would need to have verifiable, absolute proof instead such as you recorded your tongues message and then you took this message to a language expert to be properly interpreted.)

3.) What is the purpose for these tongues messages? Since I have the entire holy Bible miraculously before me which supplies all my needs, why would I want or trust extra messages? At the end of Revelation it tells me not to add to what is written or I will receive plagues and other terrible things. This is a dire warning to me, and why would I want to disobey God's teachings and add to His words which already supply all my spiritual needs? Plus if I do add to His word, He promises that nothing but problems will come upon me and I certainly do not want that to happen. I want to obey Him and not add to what is already written.

4.) I do believe very strongly that you behave in a very nice, kind, respectful, and patient way, but yet that still does not prove to me that what you are practicing is of God. There is still much error that occurs through kind, nice people such as fortune tellers, psychics etc. Emanual Swedenborg was very gentle and kind in his mannerisms, and he also wrote volumes and volumes about God, yet he also practiced out of body experiences on a regular basis and other such mysterious practices which I believe are not of God. Plus I have known many very nice people who were into tongue speaking, yet one by one they all took the path of following odder and odder doctrines, and most have turned to true doctrines of demons such as universalism, unitarianism and so forth. Some started out as very kind and gracious, yet later on they became harsh, rude, and cold. Others I know became obsessed with "visions", "dreams", "prophecy" etc. and became less and less interested in truth. I want no part of that. I honestly have seen no good lasting fruit come forth from those who claim that they have the gift of tongue speaking, but have only seen them go deeper and deeper into some form of deception.

5.) Even if your tongues messages are not demonic type words, but are seemingly loving words, what use does anyone else have for that? Why can't it be simple understandable words? Why would God want to bring mystery and confusion to me and others? Why would I want to hear anything extra, when I already have plenty by just learning the precious truths of the Bible which I am to thirst after like a babe thirsts for milk?

6. ) I know that you believe that what you are doing by speaking in tongues is real, but I also know that what people like psychics, and fortunes tellers do is also real in a sense, such as some are able to see illness in someone else's body etc. Just because something may be real, does not necessarily mean to me that such mystical practices are approved of by God. I also know that some people do miraculously start to speak in real tongues, but that this miracle does not necessarily mean it is a miracle from God. Witches, pagans, and strange religions all have experienced these miracles which makes me all that more cautious of it.

7.) I don't want to judge your heart or your spiritual condition, or your experiences, but I can't find any comfort of peace in what is happening through you. It does not sit well with me or make me feel comfortable in my soul. To me it is mysterious, confusing, and burdensome. However when I fellowship with the Lord it is clear, simple, rejuvenating and enlightening and it gives my life true peace and joy!

8.) I know that you've told me that your tongues are not out of order in the public setting, which is good, but that still does not necessarily prove to me that your tongues are of God. For example: Fortune tellers are not out of order either in public settings and do not cause disruptions, yet what they do is not of God.

9.) I know that you want to believe and feel convinced that what you are experiencing is from God, but I also can't deny this heavy message on my heart to be exceedingly skeptical that it is from God.

10.) There is simply too much confusion, mystery, and unanswered questions to all this and it does not sit well with me. The Bible clearly and comfortingly tells me that God is not a God of confusion, but of peace (1 Cor. 14:33). If what you are doing is truly of God, I would think that would be absolutely clear to me and you would be using this miraculous gift to fulfill the Great Commission and the like.

In conclusion: I don't mean to sound harsh, disrespectful, demeaning or anything else - not at all. Instead I am simply being honest and forthright, and obeying God's command to test all things in this day of deception. I want to be honest in telling you that I find no peace, comfort, or edification in what you are sharing with me about what you see as a gift. Since God's gifts are meant to bring edification to the body of Christ, then why am I not edified by this but am feeling the exact opposite?

-----------------------------------

I sure I hope I was not too hard on her, but I really do not want to get trapped into some deception, or even encourage her in a possible deception. I have seen too many get stuck in that and it never seems to turn out for the good. It's hard sometimes to be gracious and yet perfectly honest at the same time on some of these subjects. I still do not know how she will respond.

Thanks for taking the time to listen and if you have any words of advice on this please let me know!

In Jesus Christ our wonderful peace and source of truth,

Response #16:

Always great to hear from you. This letter of yours to your correspondent I find to be absolutely wonderful. It seems you are really coming into your own ministry, and I personally couldn't be more pleased or happy for you. These are precisely the questions that should be asked, both for the benefit of the person concerned and for anyone listening. I have no doubt that there are many "Charismatics" who are good people and believers in Christ, who have been led into this activity because it is, for want of a better word, "fun". Having become used to this sort of entertainment – and dependent on it for their spirituality – they naturally defend it (so it is with everything we human beings choose to rationalize). People who are happy with their (false) applications are often not grateful for honest and straightforward truth-telling. All of us have rough edges, and none of us is really "happy" about having them exposed or pointed out, especially when it is done in such a clear and honest way that on the one hand we can't deny it and on the other hand we really can't blame the messenger. But no doubt all such corrective experiences come from the Lord, and they are extremely salutary. In my opinion, you are not only doing this person a great favor but also coming to her spiritual rescue – if she is willing to be rescued. We can never know just how the good ministrations we are empowered by the Spirit to perform will be received nor what immediate effect they will have. What we do know is that they are of God and that He is using us as His instruments to accomplish His plan – whatever form that takes and whenever it occurs.

I do hope you will have no problem with me posting this at some future date – it will be a very valuable exercise for anyone to read and contemplate.

Thanks you!

In our dear Lord who is the only truth, Jesus Christ our Savior,

Bob L.

Question #17:

Hi Bob,

I shared your article today in a group setting about the fact that we can call our Lord by the name of Jesus Christ and that we do not have to call Him by His Hebrew name and some were very pleased with that article and very appreciative of what you said! It's always so wonderful to see people become encouraged and edified and lifted out of their discouragement. I hope they will continue to find more encouragement by seeking more of your teachings.

Thank you so much for your very kind words and they really lifted my spirits! I am extremely honored that you would wish to post those thoughts I shared with this lady on your site one day and I do sure hope that they might be of help to some. Thank you for that!

The lady responded to my message to her right away. However, I was quite confident that she would not be pleased with what I wrote, so I waited a few days to even open up her response to me, but today I decided to read it. This was her response:

" . . . this is what comes to my heart I do not need to prove anything to anyone. I have a loving honest outgoing personality and I can accept people right where they are at without judgement even if I do not agree with or like certain behaviors or actions. My relationship with the LORD is secure as is the fact I speak in tongues; the LORD never asked me to prove myself to you nor have I asked you to prove to me you are a solid walking by faith bible believing believer. What you are asking are worldly traits as in prove to me you have what you say and I will believe you. Man say's to God show me you are real and I will believe, the LORD replies believe and I will show you I am real. When the bible talks about testing the spirits I support that but as you are not near me and I cannot explain everything this way to your satisfaction does that mean I am lying or that you are right. What proof do I have that you are what you say you are, a believer. I only have your word for it over this computer, you could quote scripture but the devil can do that. What I do have is discernment and the leading of the Holy Spirit which I completely trust and believe. I KNOW you are a believer and I have also know when I have encountered others on here who are NOT. I am neither upset or angry if you do not believe me, it does not affect how I see you or think about you and it does not change the fact I SPEAK IN TONGUES.

Let me make something clear here. I do not regularly interpret my tongues, it is only when a limited amount of times I was lead to speak out loud in front of the church and as I said before it was in tongues and then English and it was intercessory for the body of believers. It was a plea for the church to come out of the world and to repent of hanging on to worldly stuff and the other one was to praise the LORD no matter what was going on in our lives, that HE in faithfulness would break the chains holding His people in bondage and would lead us to freedom but the messages work together, come out of the LORD let go of worldly things Trust the LORD worship him no matter what is going on for HE is faithful and will lead us into freedom (the demonic chains holding many in the body of Christ). Here are some scripture on intercessory prayer. You see my dear Sister the bible is clear on how we are to treat one another, with honor, supporting each other in pain and struggles and rejoicing with one another Romans 12:15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;

The only reason I am answering your questions is because it is the right thing to do because I believe you lack understanding and discernment in this area but again and I say this with love and respect what you think is of no concern to me, it will not change me or the gift I have. You see I agonized being teased about my gift and ridiculed, I went to the LORD in tears and torment because I thought what if I am possessed, what if it is a demon speaking this stuff. You have no idea the tears and anguish I suffered but the LORD is faithful and merciful, through scripture He showed me I was fine. Read this carefully Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. The Holy Spirits groanings where not for myself but the body of believers I worship with that is why it was in tongues and I am telling you it boomed out of me and right away in english until the message was done. I was on my knees in worship when this happened (long story about that ask me later, but worship on my knees is a huge trust thing and I truly feel free when I worship this way) anyways afterwards my hands where shaking so bad I looked like I had been zapped with a tazer but not all of me just my hands.

My son say's my tongues is different, He has heard enough tongues and say's mine is like an actually language I said what kind, He said just my opinion but middle eastern maybe, the same thing I thought. Only three times in my life has this happened. One time was a vision the LORD asked me to give and right away it was concurred by someone whom the LORD had just given a song to (ask me about the vision later too) this was really weird for me but it completely ties into the other two times and brings assurance that what the LORD is telling me will come to pass. The healing, freedom uniting on HIS bride, one Church, one body under Christ Jesus from all walks of born again backgrounds, only there is no label that is why we are the bride.

NONE of what has ever happened was for me. NEVER, it was for the Church to lift them up. Every single time it has happened I have suffered greatly and come under attack because in obedience I have submitted to the LORD. No matter who you are there is a price to pay for serving the LORD and the enemy hates us because we are Jesus and He is in us. Can you give me scripture that say's as a believer I have to verify my giftings to you? that I have to prove my relationship with God to you? So do you have any gifts or do you believe those don't exist as well? If you have gifts what are they and can you prove you actually have them? How do I know they are from God??? How do I know you have Godly wisdom or the leading of the Holy Spirit and can even properly discern the Bible? Hmm, doesn't sound like I am being very kind or respectful does it.

You see I came to the LORD when I was young and I have seen and heard a number of silly arguments between the faiths. I used to get into those arguments and what I learned is they produce NOTHING, nothing at all good comes out of them, it spreads bitterness, contention, confusion, hurt, offense and the enemy loves every single moment of it. If you believe you can judge my heart or walk or giftings you keep right on doing that hon but I don't believe it will give you any more peace or satisfaction. I am secure, bought and payed for by the blood of the lamb and no matter what anyone says, I am saved, I am a believer who loves the LORD and I have been given gifts like anyone else.

One group say's all those gifts have gone away, seriously you better hope they have not because what is coming down the pipe will be impossible with out the LORD and demons right now are running rampant it will get much worse, more than your mind can conceive and HIS faithful, HIS children who believe will step up to the plate in faith and declare the gospel of JESUS CHRIST and the giftings to help and heal. I don't use or abuse my gifts ever. I never speak up unless prompted. I know if I could talk to you I know you could hear my heart I KNOW you would KNOW then.

Everyone gravitates to their experiences or feelings but I can tell you feelings and experiences lined up against the Word of GOD will never go anywhere. Everyone has an opinion on a subject, everyone believes they are right and everyone but what GODS says is all that matters in my life. I stopped pleasing people because you can never win in that area. I live to serve people and to please the LORD because I love and adore him. This is something between you and the LORD and no one for tongues or against tongues can help you with this, this is truly between you and Him, examine your heart and see why you feel the way you do, are there outside factors or motivations on this or is it solely based on scripture. Because the fact is that I do speak in tongues, and the fact it is in Scripture and I have sought the LORD on this over and over along time ago because of my experiences. I have peace because of HIM. I would NEVER want to do something contrary to HIS word, never want to do something misleading, false or that would hurt my Father in Heaven, having said that I completely trust him 100% and I know He hears me and my prayers, when I was struggling when I came under persecution about speaking in tongues I begged HIM to remove it if it was not from HIM, I pleaded and prayed knowing HE would in love and mercy answer me. HE DID, I speak in tongues. Love and the Peace of Our LORD be with you always."

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I had a feeling she would respond along these lines. She actually is much more calm than a large percent out there who truly become deeply offended and get very angry and outraged even when trying to speak to them in a calm peaceful way. I just wrote a simple brief message back to her and wrote.

"I'm sorry that my message upset you even though I had no intent for that. I also tried to write very lovingly and clearly in my last message to you that what I wrote was not meant in any way to judge your heart, spiritual condition, or your experiences, and it was not meant to bring about arguing or to cause contentions. I brought my concerns about what you wrote to me before the Lord in prayer, and I just had to be honest and sincere about everything I wrote and I do hope you can respect and appreciate that.

Your passion, zeal, and commitment inspire me greatly. But please understand that I also have a commitment and zeal to warn others for there is so much falseness out there, and pagan religions are known for speaking in glossolalia and it is not of the Lord. I too am passionate and it is not out of a desire to cause contentions, but just out of a sincere love for souls.

Maybe for now we should take a rest and not converse on this subject for the time being.

Much love to you as we continue to seek the Lord,

Response #17:

You are very welcome. In my experience, some people can't be helped – but it is our duty to try; others, while they refuse to be helped immediately, still do profit down the road from the truth implanted – it may just be that even though convicted of the truth they a little too much pride to admit their error right away, especially after having invested so much time and effort into it. Only God knows the heart. I will observe that this person did not really answer your most pertinent questions – questions which, in all honesty, it ought to be easy enough to answer if the practice were in fact legitimate. People in this situation, as I say, are so emotionally bound to and dependent on the "reality" of what they are engaged in that their protestations are usually along these lines, namely, making it a personal rather than an objective question. Rather than giving us the proof we seek, they ask us "why don't you trust me?" But every wise Christian trusts the Lord, trusts the Bible, trusts the verifiable truth; human beings, on the other hand, are to be treated with skepticism, even if they claim to be believers, whenever they say or are involved in anything questionable especially.

But Jesus did not commit Himself to them, because He knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man.
John 2:24-25 NKJV

As the sign in the small grocery store I am fond of quoting read: "In God we trust – all others pay cash". Similarly, we need to be "wise as serpents" as believers in the midst of the devil's world, even as we also strive to be "harmless as doves". I repeat these things quite a lot in such contexts, but they are truths we cannot afford ever to forget in the midst of such a tsunami of false teachings and false claims.

Your friend in Jesus Christ who is the truth,

Bob L.

Question #18:

Hi Bob,

You always have such a good wise answer and I am always deeply thankful and encouraged by them. I regularly share your teachings when the opportunity arises, and many have let me know that they were blessed by what you said. Today I can't even count the times I've shared your teachings (not in an annoying way, but I always seek to do so in a humble way). I am trying to get in these opportunities while I still can.

There are times when I have wondered if the glossolalia speaking is really such a big deal to be concerned about. However I am feeling more convicted that this is truly a concern. I read the following someplace and I will condense it here for you:

--------------------------------

To persist in glossolalia could truly be a way of flirting with spiritual disaster and spiritual recovery might become impossible if the offender persists in such behavior.

Glossolalia is a phenomenon where a human being utters some sounds without understanding them, and these sounds are inspired by a spirit other than the spirit of this human being. Glossolalia is a mystical occult phenomenon and it is practiced regularly by pagan religions. The Holy Spirit does not inspire occult phenomenon such as glossolalia. Charismatic glossolalia is supposed to edify only the one practicing it and not any others, and therefore glossolalia cannot be a gift of the Holy Spirit since the gifts of the Holy Spirit are for edifying "others" ( 1 Cor. 12:7, Eph. 4:11-12, 1 Pet. 4:10).

The Bible prohibits glossolalia and its interpretations since it is associated with witchcraft type activity (Deut. 18:10). Jesus also condemned the meaningless prayers practiced among pagan religions (Mt. 6:7). Glossolalia practices switch off our mind and reasoning abilities, whereas the Bible teaches us instead about the need to love the Lord with ALL our MIND (Mt. 22:37). Thus glossolalia would seem clearly to be a sin against the greatest commandment of all.

Pentecostals/Charismatics believe that some verses in 1 Corinthians chapter 14 encourages the pagan practice of glossolalia. But 1 Corinthians chapter 14 is speaking about "GLOSSA" which are true human languages, and not about glossolalia which is practiced by the pagan religions. 1 Corinthians chapter 14 is speaking about normal human languages which may not always be understood by the whole congregation, and it is not encouraging partaking in any type of occult type practices of the pagans. The gift of tongues was a true miracle since it involved knowing true human languages without having to study them (Acts 2, 10, 19), and it was not at all the idea of babbling in incomprehensible syllables as the heathen religions practiced.

Unless we love the Lord with all our minds and hearts as the Lord commanded in the greatest commandment, we could get led astray in this deceptive day to follow after serious heresies such as the pagan practice of glossolalia, as well as the many other occult practices which are encouraged by the Pentecostal /charismatic movement.

--------------------------------

So I do feel more and more concerned about people who practice this even in their private prayer lives.

Thanks again dear brother for everything!

Your friend in Jesus Christ our blessed Lord,

Response #18:

Thank you !

This is a nice piece you have synopsized here. The key issue is "is this of God?". If it is not truly of God, then it is not the biblical practice recounted in scripture. And if it is not of God, then it clearly can't be any good – and may very well be quite bad. However, I would not go so far as to say that "tongues" is necessarily uttering something from demons as this piece implies (i.e., "inspired by a spirit other than the spirit of this human being"). The Irish have a practice called "lilting" where nonsensical sounds are uttered as musical accompaniment (anyone familiar with Irish ballads has probably heard this). It is possible for anyone to project nonsensical sounds and give them some sort of "rhythm"; they may assume (or claim) that this is the biblical speaking of tongues, but it is not. In my view, in many cases it is also not demon possession. After all, no believer can be demon possessed (though believers can be influenced by demons and, more to the point, by demon doctrines), and as misguided as our "Charismatic" brethren are about many things, I do allow as to how most of them are probably believers.

Yours in Jesus our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Hi,

I was going through your website and thought that you might be the right person to ask this question. Here is my question: Recently, at the insistent, persistent request of a very dear friend, I went to a retreat being hosted by a Pentecostal, Evangelical Church (which incidentally is not a member of any established Pentecostal Church such as Assemblies of God or the like). They call this retreat the "Encounter" as supposedly this is the first step in your relationship with Christ, to have a personal encounter with Him. The retreat was in an Inn/Hotel in a rural area owned by the church used exclusively for this Church retreats of which there are various through the year (Encounter, Post-Encounter, Pastoral Retreat; Couples (Married) Retreats, etc.) Seeing how much my friend had changed, from a very tempestuous personality to someone somewhat calmer, I was curious and looked forward to it. I was expecting to come out of there having felt some kind of spiritual awakening and perhaps with renewed faith and insight. However, I came out of it, confused, disillusioned and frankly somewhat scare that my friend may be involved in some type of cultish church. The cost of this retreat was $240 for 2 nights and 2 days. We arrived Friday night and left Sunday afternoon. We were placed in rooms of 4-8 people sleeping in bunk beds, regardless of the capability of someone being able to climb up to the bunk bed (these were adult women, most of whom are over 40, and the bunk beds were military style – no steps). The meetings started at 7 am and ended around 9 pm with lunch and dinner breaks. It consisted of a few dramatizations of the parables of Christ. We were asked to check off on a pre-printed cards all the sins of which we were guilty (names were not included on the cards). The cards were collected and then given back to us after dinner to have a symbolic ceremony by throwing the cards to the fire and thus erasing our sins and declaring ourselves free. Before the cards were burned, we first had to call on the Holy Spirit. This was done by the continual and increasingly louder and louder form of prayer where we all prayed out loud with Christian music in the background. Some of the women were crying, others literally hollering, some throwing up, basically pandemonium (funny the word demon is in pandemonium). I felt very uncomfortable with this, but decided to keep going. I also had no choice as we were bused there, so had no way of leaving. For the grand finale, there was another group prayer but this was so that we could be baptized by the Holy Spirit. Basically the prayer was to summon the Holy Spirit and be baptized by Him. The sign that we were baptized by Holy Spirit was that we would then be speaking in tongues. How to achieve this, to keep saying some prayer (which I now forget) over and over again until out of our tongue would come out indecipherable words (I believe that is called tongue twister). There was even more pandemonium now, as this seemed to go on forever. They cautioned us not to meditate to go into a trance. Our eyes were to be closed and we were to just repeat this prayer. Again, more crying, more screaming, more vomiting and convulsing from some of the women. If they felt that you were slowing down or weakening in your resolve, some of the group leaders would come to you and tell you in your face not to give up. We were constantly told not to open our eyes. I kept feeling a cool breeze at my lower legs (windows and doors were closed). I finally had enough, sat on the floor, got quiet and refused to partake in any of this, as I had a very uneasy feeling about it and reminded me too much of pagan Caribbean traditions where "santeras" summon spirits (santo). I then asked another partaker if she had felt the cool breeze and she told me yes. Of course she had also been "baptized" by the holy spirit. When we returned from this encounter, we were greeted by members of the Church with loud trumpet noise, balloon, flowers, music. We were then encouraged to go to the front of the altar and testify of our experience to the congregation.

Is this ceremony biblical and/or Christian? What is your opinion of this.

Incidentally this church is very strict and dogmatic. One even has to qualify to be an usher here, meaning you must have passed three Bible Study classes (Post-Encounter class; 1st level Bible Study; 2nd Level Bible study). To qualify, one must have no blemish in their testimony (must have missed no small group meeting, Sunday worship, and must be obedient/compliant).

Thanks

Response #19:

Good to make your acquaintance.

I wish I could say that I am shocked to hear of such cult-like and obviously emotionally manipulative activity coming from a purportedly Christian group, but sadly it is not that uncommon. Let me say from the start that your impression that none of this is legitimate or biblical is right on the money. As to money, by the way, the fact that these people charge for these "blessings" . . . and exorbitantly too . . . is a clear indication of the spiritual value of what they are offering.

All Christians, that is, all who believe in Jesus Christ, have the Holy Spirit (see the link):

Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
Romans 8:9b NKJV

The gift of tongues "ceased" before the apostles even left the scene (1Cor.13:8). It comprised an ability to speak in a genuine human language – not screeching out sounds no one can discern. See the links:

The Gift of Tongues I

The Gift of Tongues II

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit

New Testament Interpretation

These are, however, signs of the times. The closer we get to the end, the more pronounced the lukewarmness of our Church era, that of Laodicea, becomes (see the link). When Christians lose interest in the Bible and in the hard work of learning, believing and applying all of its truths, then substituting either a detailed system of ritual or turning to emotionally stimulating activities instead is generally the result. That is what is going on here.

Thanks for sharing this . . . and kudos to you for your good, sound Christian "common sense" in the true power of the Holy Spirit, that still, small voice speaking to our consciences and using the truth we have believed in our hearts to guide us into all the right paths.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob Luginbill

Question #20:

Dear Bob,

Glad to meet your acquaintance as well, and thanks for your quick response. I’ve been spending time looking through your website and I find it very informative. Seeing that you are very knowledgeable in the Word, can you assist me on how best to explain to my friend about the activities going on at his church. Every time I’ve tried, it’s ended up in a screaming match and since I don’t have the knowledge that he has in the Word, I cannot argue intelligently why I feel that he is in a dangerous place and his spiritual life is being compromised. He truly believes that it is God’s will that he attend this church (he’s taking Bible Study classes there in the hopes of obtaining a pastor recommendation to attend a seminary or theological university). He went through a very hard time last year, where he lost everything financially and felt that it was God who got him through all of it and put him at this church. I agree that God got him through the difficult period, but disagree about this church being God’s will. What I find intriguing is that deep down inside he knows there’s something wrong with this place. He is constantly complaining that they don’t allow him to participate in class, that questions are discouraged, does not like that he is being basically forced to assist to a small group of their choosing, in order to be promoted to 3rd level Bible Study class. He needs to complete 4 levels before he can even ask for a pastor’s recommendation. Lately, I’ve opted with staying quiet every time he complains about the church or the small group situation and in fact, have asked him not to share with me any more anything negative about the place, as it does neither one of us any good. It is very important to him that I join him in these activities. I cannot in good conscience subject myself to such farce, which in my opinion, borders on idolatry of the image of Jesus. But I am concerned for him. This is a church with somewhat large congregation (about 1000). Arguing with him seems to make him want to stay there even more. In his mind he is equating church attendance with faith in God. So when I tell him that I do not want to go there, he accuses me of getting cold on God and losing my faith. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s actually quite the opposite. So I need to find an intelligent approach to help him open his eyes. Any help you can give on this will be much appreciated.

One more question, I was reading your link The gift of tongues I and noticed that you said that the office of apostleship is terminated. The pastor at the church my friend attends is referred to as "el Apostol Carlos Sorto" (The apostle, Carlos Sorto). Is this title then also incorrect as the title of priests being referred as "Father"?

Looking forward to your response.

Response #20:

You're most welcome. To take you last question first, the word apostolos in Greek means "one sent", and is occasionally used in the New Testament of missionaries. In English today, however, when we use the word "apostle" we mean "Apostle" with a capital "A", that is, not a missionary (which is the only other legitimate use of the word from the Bible), but someone granted unique authority by our Lord to organize not only a local church (the job of the pastor/teacher and elders) but many other churches/ministries as well. But of that sort of Apostle there have only been (and only shall ever be) twelve (e.g., Rev.21:14), and the last one, John, passed from this life in ca. 68 A.D. Anyone arrogating such a title to himself today is completely out of line biblically since there is no such gift being given any more: Paul was the last to receive it. Please see the links:

Are there apostles in the Church today?

The 11 and the 12

Matthias and the Numbering of the Twelve Apostles

Apostles and Evangelism

The situation you report with your friend is not at all an uncommon one. People often end up in cult or near-cult situations/churches/organizations when "on the rebound" from difficult and/or trying situations and experiences. It is a hard life-lesson that Christians often must learn: just because X was wrong or insufficient, doesn't make Y right and proper; also, just because God got us through A, doesn't mean that He now wants us to embrace B. The message we have to hear and learn is that the Bible and its truth (and, hopefully, some fellowship or ministry that embraces them) is where we should put our efforts, loyalties and energies. It is not uncommon for some of us to have to learn these lessons "the hard way", but God helps in this as in all things. The difficulties with this "church" which you report will no doubt build up the "cognitive dissonance" in your friend between what he knows to be true and what this church teaches and is doing to such a point that eventually a rupture will occur. The best strategy for friends and family in such cases is to stay true to the truth themselves but keep the lines of love and communication open. It's important on the one hand not to give any indication in such circumstances that we agree with this cult in any way or will ever compromise our own beliefs at all, but also important not to go to war over the person in question "needing to change" – they have to come to that conclusion all by themselves (and judging from your report, I would guess that this will come sooner rather than later). Here are a few links which will be helpful on this point:

Witnessing: Cults and Christianity I

Witnessing: Cults and Christianity II

Cult Characteristics and Techniques

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #21:

Hi Bob,

Once again thanks for the response. That’s pretty much the attitude I am now taking, staying quiet and just being there to listen to him. I admit at times it is hard, but I’m leaving everything up to God to show him the Truth. He is a man of faith and I know that God will guide him to the Truth. I also find that when I criticize or even show him examples of what is wrong I tend to make things worse and push him more toward them, sort of like when you prohibit something to a child; it just makes it more enticing.

On a different note, I’m really enjoying reading the articles on your site. It’s answering a lot of questions I’ve had throughout my life and also raising new ones as I discover more and more about the Word and God. So thank you for taking the time from your busy schedule to share your knowledge with us. It is much appreciated.

In reading about you, I noticed that you understand Greek. I would love to be able to read Greek, but have no ideas as to how to go about getting this education. I’ve gone online, but so far have only seen online courses. I would prefer to attend actual classes. Do you have any suggestions on this?

Thanks again and God bless.

Response #21:

You're most welcome.

Thanks for all your good words. I'm hoping and praying to hear good news from you soon in regard to your friend. I think your analysis of these matters is right on target.

As to Greek, it's hard for almost anyone to learn a language like ancient Greek without face to face instruction. Some very few are able to do it (usually those with extraordinary language skills who have already mastered several other languages). As a teacher of Greek and Latin by day, I can tell you that even with said instruction, it takes a lot of effort and dedication over a long period to get to the point of being able to be able to read it easily (years rather than months). There may possibly be opportunities in your area (local seminaries, colleges and/or universities), but that is always problematic for those working a normal 9 to 5. Here are a couple of links at Ichthys which discuss this and some related issues:

What's the best way to learn Greek (in BLTT IV)?

Greek Language Resources On-Line

Why Was the New Testament Written in Greek?

The Greek Text of the New Testament and some Issues of Textual Criticism

Some Greek Questions in the Gospels (John 1:3; 2:19; 8:58; Luke 23:43)

Are the Greek tenses in John 7:34 correctly translated?

Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations I

Biblical Languages, Texts and Translations II

The Greek of the New Testament (in Chronological order)

Seminaries and Greek

How important is education for a pastor?

Pastoral Support, Pastoral Preparation, and the Purpose of Assembly

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior

Bob L.

Question #22:

Thanks! I will definitely check them out. I love languages. Unfortunately I only speak two (Spanish and English). I'm fully fluent in both and I've always found that it makes learning and understanding concepts easier as my mind sort of interprets it in various contexts. Speaking of which while reading through some of the links you sent previously I notice a question regarding the word for wife, sister and woman in Greek. If I understood your answer correctly the word for woman in Greek is used the same way it is used in Spanish. It can mean both wife and woman (mujer). It depends on context. For example when a couple marries, they're declared "marido y mujer" – husband and wife. When a friend inquires of someone's wife, the question is: " y tu mujer como está? And how's your wife? There's also the word esposa which means wife; ironically it also means handcuffs when made plural (esposas).

I have a million other questions. If you allow it I would like to continue to pose them to you.

Best

Response #22:

That's really interesting! Oddly also, Latin, from which Spanish is derived, does have a word for wife: uxor (from which English derives the word uxorious), but sometimes uses the word woman, mulier . . from which comes Spanish mujer. The handcuffs note is hard to beat though.

Feel free to write back any time.

In Jesus our Dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

 

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