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by Andre Watson.

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Of course, you are not such wiseacres as to think or say that you can expound Scripture without assistance from the works of divines (theologians) and learned men who have laboured before you in the field of exposition. – Charles H. Spurgeon

I was going to save this for a later post, however because of a conversation I recently participated in, I believe now is a good time. 1st Corinthians 13:1 says this:

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.

Was Paul teaching that there was a language that was spoken only by the angels of God? A Heavenly prayer language? Was he teaching that this is how to effectively communicate with God? Of course not!

Most people, when they study the bible, they study it without the use of any other books. I have yet to meet a lawyer or a paralegal that studies for a case from just one law book. But when Christians, especially Pentecostals and Charismatics study the bible, only one book is used. And we can thank Mr. Charles Fox Parham for that. When he started his Bethel Bible College in Topeka, Kansas in 1900, the only textbook used was the bible. This was a gateway for Satan to enter in with many false teachings such as receiving the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues.

The first English translated bible was done by John Wycliffe in 1384. This was handwritten. William Tyndale completed the New Testament in English in 1526 making it the first copies from a printing press. 1611 was the birth of the King James Version. Not too long after, commentaries began to pop up from people like Matthew Henry (died 1714), The commentaries of Robert Jamieson, A.R. Fausset & David Brown, originally published in 1871, John Gill (23 November 1697 – 14 October 1771), and other published works like The People’s New Testament (1891). These were here to help guide people long before the doctrines of Pentecostalism. Let’s take a look at how some of these may have helped.

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible:
Could a man speak all the languages on earth, and that with the greatest propriety, elegance, and fluency, could he talk like an angel, and yet be without charity, it would be all empty noise, mere unharmonious and useless sound, that would neither profit nor delight. It is not talking freely, nor finely, nor learnedly, of the things of God, that will save ourselves, or profit others, if we are destitute of holy love. It is the charitable heart, not the voluble tongue, that is acceptable with God. The apostle specifies first this gift because hereupon the Corinthians seemed chiefly to value themselves and despise their brethren.

Albert Barnes (December 1, 1798 – December 24, 1870) from Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible:
The language of angels; such as they speak. Were I endowed with the faculty of eloquence and persuasion which we attribute to them; and the power of speaking to any of the human family with the power which they have. The language of angels here seems to be used to denote the highest power of using language, or of the most elevated faculty of eloquence and speech. It is evidently derived from the idea that the angels are superior in all respects to human beings; that they must have endowments in advance of all which man can have.

John Gill:
and of angels; not that angels have tongues in a proper sense, or speak any vocal language, in an audible voice, with articulate sounds; for they are spirits immaterial and incorporeal; though they have an intellectual speech, by which they celebrate the perfections and praises of God, and can discourse with one another, and communicate their minds to each other; see Isaiah 6:3 and which is what the Jews {q} call, “blh rwbyd, “the speech of the heart”; and is the speech (they say) שהמלאכים מדברים, “which the angels speak” in their heart; and is the “pure language”, and more excellent than other tongues; is pleasant discourse, the secret of the holy seraphim–and is שיח המלאכים, “the talk of angels”; who do the will of their Creator in their hearts, and in their thoughts:” this is not what the apostle refers to; but rather the speech of angels, when they have assumed human bodies, and have in them spoke with an audible voice, in articulate sounds; of which we have many instances, both in the Old Testament and the New, wherein they have conversed with divers persons, as Hagar, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Manoah and his wife, the Virgin Mary, Zechariah, and others; unless by the tongues of angels should be meant the most eloquent speech, and most excellent of languages; or if there can be thought to be any tongue that exceeds that of men, which, if angels spoke, they would make use of. Just as the face of angels is used, to express the greatest glory and beauty of the face, or countenance, Acts 6:15, and angels’ bread is used for the most excellent food, Ps 78:25.

This is but a few but I believe it gives a general consensus to what is believed the apostle is talking about. These theologians believed that he was referring to speaking eloquently and fluently. They talk about how this is about being able to speak in the highest form of gracefulness.

Now, the word “though” is translated from the Greek word Ean which is a compound word that means what if. Therefore it can be concluded that Paul was not giving us an impression of possession (though I speak), but rather he was giving a supposition (what if I speak). Many have believed that he was referring to something that he witnessed while caught up in the third heaven. This is not possible. To say this would be sin on his part. He wasn’t permitted to say what he saw. So, to say that Paul was giving any type of testimony of the existence of a speech of angels or that he was capable of speaking this language is unbiblical.

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