Hearing the sound of all these Christians speaking in tongues and recognizing several distinct languages being spoken caused many in the multitude gathered to ask, “What can this mean?” That’s when Peter, “standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, ‘Men of Judea, and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words” (Acts 2:14). And with that, Peter preached an anointed message that resulted in the salvations of three-thousand people.
You will notice that I underlined two words: “utterance” in 2:4, and “said” in 2:14. I underlined these two words because they translate one Greek word that appears only one other time in the New Testament (Acts 26:25). The Greek word used in 2:4 and 2:14 means more than just ordinary speaking. It means to speak forth by inspiration. The context of all three passages where this word is used makes it clear that the inspiration is that of the Holy Spirit.
The believers in the upper room spoke in tongues by the inspiration (divine enabling) of the Holy Spirit. Just a few verses later, Peter preached to the multitude gathered in Jerusalem by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit who empowered Peter to speak in a tongue he did not know (2:4) also empowered him to speak in a tongue he did know (2:14).
While the Book of Acts is categorized as an historical book in the New Testament, it’s much more than that. In Acts, Luke doesn’t just present the history of the Early Church. He presents the model for the entire Church. God still desires to baptize believers in the Holy Spirit. The initial physical evidence is speaking in tongues under the empowerment of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:4: 10:46; 19:6).
But it doesn’t stop there because the purpose of the baptism is power to be a witness for Jesus Christ (Acts 1:8). The ongoing evidence will be the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to speak to others about Jesus in the language you know. Either way, whether it’s the tongue you don’t know or the one you do know, the inspiration to speak comes from the Holy Spirit.
Pastor Todd Weston