Original Research

The Pentecostal Movement’s view of the continuity of tongues in Acts and 1 Corinthians

Marius Nel
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 51, No 1 | a2198 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v51i1.2198 | © 2017 Marius Nel | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 September 2016 | Published: 20 April 2017

About the author(s)

Marius Nel, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus, South Africa


Pentecostals see a continuity between the speaking in languages as a part of the filling or baptism with the Spirit in Acts 2 and the other four incidents in Acts (8, 9, 10, 19). This is also the case of the phenomenon described in 1 Corinthians 12–14, and their own experience, in contradistinction to most Protestants who regard the gift of tongues in terms of Acts 2’s description. It is described as the miraculous ability to speak in real foreign languages with the purpose to reach people from different nationalities with the gospel of Jesus Christ. In this article the pentecostal claim of continuity between the speaking in languages in Acts and Corinthians and our own day is being analysed and criticised. The position poses several questions that need to be addressed, like the seeming and presumed discontinuity between languages in Acts 2 and 1 Corinthians, with the modern pentecostal phenomenon of speaking in languages related to what happened in 1 Corinthians and not in Acts. The implication is that a difference exists between the languages used by the Galileans on the Day of Pentecost and the phenomenon of languages occurring in the Corinthian assembly – with the Corinthian assembly associated with the modern charismatic movement. This poses the question whether a differentiation between speaking in languages in Acts and the phenomenon designated with the same term in 1 Corinthians is sustainable; also whether the identification of modern Pentecostals with the Corinthian phenomenon is allowed.


Speaking in languages; Spirit baptism; continuity; cessasionist; continuationist; Acts 2; 1 Corinthians 12-14


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