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International Bible Lessons Commentary

The Uniform Sunday School Bible Lessons Series

Acts 2:1-7, 12
&
1 Corinthians 14:13-19

L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.
Teaching the Truth in Love

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English Standard Version

Acts 2:1-7, 12 ESV Commentary

Acts 2:1-7, 12 ESV Large Print Commentary

ESV Study Guide
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Acts 2:1-7, 12

1 Corinthians 14:13-19
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1 Corinthians 14:13-19 ESV
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ESV Study Guide
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1 Corinthians 14:13-19

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Acts 2:1-7, 12 KJV Commentary

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Acts 2:1-7, 12

1 Corinthians 14:13-19
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1 Corinthians 14:13-19 KJV
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KJV Study Guide
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1 Corinthians 14:13-19

New American Standard Bible

Acts 2:1-7, 12 NASB Commentary

Acts 2:1-7, 12 NASB Large Print Commentary

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Acts 2:1-7, 12

1 Corinthians 14:13-19
NASB
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1 Corinthians 14:13-19 NASB
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NASB Study Guide
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1 Corinthians 14:13-19

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Acts 2:1-7, 12 NIV Commentary

Acts 2:1-7, 12 NIV Large Print Commentary

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Acts 2:1-7, 12

1 Corinthians 14:13-19
NIV
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1 Corinthians 14:13-19 NIV
Large Print Commentary

NIV Study Guide
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1 Corinthians 14:13-19

New Revised Standard Version

Acts 2:1-7, 12 NRSV Commentary

Acts 2:1-7, 12 NRSV Large Print Commentary

NRSV Study Guide
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Acts 2:1-7, 12

1 Corinthians 14:13-19
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1 Corinthians 14:13-19 NRSV
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NRSV Study Guide
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1 Corinthians 14:13-19

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Acts 2 and
1 Corinthians 14
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1 Corinthians 14 Large Print

Word Search International Bible Lesson Puzzle

Acts 2 &
1 Corinthians 14

True and False Review Test with Answer Key

Acts 2 &
1 Corinthians 14

Crossword Puzzle with Answer Key

Acts 2 &
1 Corinthians 14


International Bible Lesson

“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it”
(1 Corinthians 14:19—NRSV).

Speaking in Tongues in the Church

Speaking in Tongues in the Church
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Class Preparation Guide for 1 Corinthians 13:1-13


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May 24, 2015

International Bible Lessons Commentary
Acts 2:1-7, 12 & 1 Corinthians 14:13-19
New Revised Standard Version
L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.


The International Bible Lesson (Uniform Sunday School Lessons Series) for Sunday, May 24, 2015, is from Acts 2:1-7, 12 & 1 Corinthians 14:13-19. Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further follow the verse-by-verse International Bible Lesson Commentary below. Study Hints for Discussion and Thinking Further (available in the left-hand columm of this page in easy-print format) discusses the questions below to help with class preparation and in conducting class discussion. You may want to read to your class the International Bible Lesson (available below this commentary and in the left-hand columm of this page in easy-print format). Easy-print Bible Lesson Commentaries, Crossword Puzzles, Word Search Puzzles, and True and False Tests for Bible Lesson review are also (in the left-hand side of this page). You may also find the International Bible Lesson Forum helpful, especially when combined with Google translate.

Some teachers have asked for a handout they could give to students at the close of class so students could prepare for the next class meeting. This new handout for Sunday, May 31, 2015 is the Class Preparation Guide for 1 Corinthians 13:1-13.

International Bible Lesson Commentary

Acts 2:1-7, 12

(Acts 2:1)  When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place.

The disciples obeyed Jesus and they waited in Jerusalem until they had received the promised power from on high (the Holy Spirit). Because Jesus had been raised from the dead 50 days earlier, and had appeared to them, they were no longer scattered and hiding. They were all together in one place, probably so they would not miss the sending of the Holy Spirit as a gift from God and so they could encourage one another as they prayed, waited and wondered what would happen. They knew from their time spent with Jesus something of what to expect when the Holy Spirit came upon them in power, because the Holy Spirit had empowered Jesus. In some sense, they already knew the Holy Spirit personally within them, because Jesus had breathed the Holy Spirit upon them before He ascended into heaven: “When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’” (John 20:22).  By His Spirit, Jesus had not left them from the day of His ascension to the Day of Pentecost.

(Acts 2:2)  And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.

The Holy Spirit did not come quietly. If He had come quietly, that might have left some doubt among some as to whether or not the Holy Spirit had been sent or received. The Holy Spirit came from heaven (from a location above them or outside of this material world as the sound came into the room). It might have sounded similar to a roaring tornado or a sudden loud gust of wind. Notice: the Spirit “filled the entire house;” therefore, everyone in the house heard the Spirit’s coming and everyone could talk about their experience. Everyone in the house was surrounded by the Holy Spirit, and all of Jesus’ disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and His power. Everyone heard the Holy Spirit when He came, and they could describe the sound He made. No one had a doubt about His coming, just as Jesus’ disciples had no doubt about the power of the Holy Spirit in Jesus. Whereas Jesus had gently breathed the Holy Spirit upon them, on the Day of Pentecost He came like the sound of a rushing wind.

(Acts 2:3)  Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.

The Holy Spirit also came visibly into the house. Fire can represent cleansing. Fire is used to remove the impurities from precious metals, such as silver and gold. Fire lights up the darkness and reveals the reality of what surrounds it. John preached about Jesus the Messiah when He came: “I baptize you with water for repentance, but one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to carry his sandals. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Matthew 3:11). When the Holy Spirit came, each follower of Jesus Christ could see the flames of fire upon one another. They saw that no disciple of Jesus was left out; all of them had received the gift of the Holy Spirit in power. The Holy Spirit filled the house in a general way, as air fills a house, and the Holy Spirit also related individually and particularly to each person in the house as He came to each person and gave them the precious gift of Himself. The Holy Spirit also gave a variety of different gifts to each person, as Paul later described the giving of the Holy Spirit and His gifts. The Holy Spirit came on Pentecost as the power from on high to help the disciples teach others about Jesus and lead them to believe in Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

(Acts 2:4)  All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.

The Holy Spirit rested upon each one and entered into each one, but not to manipulate them as a puppet master from the outside. The Holy Spirit not only gave them gifts, but the Holy Spirit also gave them Himself by coming into the life of each person and filling each person. No part of any person was left untouched by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was heard with human ears as He entered the house, and His effects were seen with human eyes. He gave the disciples the ability to speak various human languages on that day, languages previously unknown to each one of them so unbelievers could hear the truth with human ears. The Holy Spirit came as a spiritual and physical presence in human history, revealing His coming to believers and unbelievers alike; just as Jesus, the Son of God, came and revealed himself to believers and unbelievers alike in the Holy Spirit’s power.

(Acts 2:5)  Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem.

Not only did Jews come to Jerusalem to visit on special feast days, but some also came to live in Jerusalem—some for business and work, some visiting family and friends, some who were happy to move from the land of their birth to Jerusalem itself. The Jews had been scattered the first time in 722 BC when the Kingdom of Israel was destroyed, and by later defeats by their enemies and through the exile of Jews to Babylon in 587 BC. By the Day of Pentecost, many had returned to Jerusalem for a variety of reasons, and many would return home with the amazing story of Jesus, the crucified and resurrected Messiah, and of how they had been there when the Holy Spirit came upon His disciples. Some would return home as dedicated followers of Jesus Christ and lead some in their family and some in their community to saving faith in Jesus Christ, so they too could receive the Holy Spirit. As Peter concluded the sermon he preached on the Day of Pentecost, he promised “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ so that your sins may be forgiven; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).

(Acts 2:6)  And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each.

Perhaps those living near the house or passing by heard the sound of the Holy Spirit as a rush of violent wind in the house. Perhaps they heard many loud voices, and as they listened each one could distinguish a voice or voices that were speaking their own language. No wonder they were shocked and confused.

(Acts 2:7)  Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans?

Thinking back to the Tower of Babel, where God confused the people’s language into many languages and scattered them into various language groups because of their sins. On the Day of Pentecost, everyone from any of these language groups could hear the good news of Jesus Christ preached to each one in their own language. In their own language, each one heard the good news of forgiveness for sin; and each one learned about God’s gift of the Holy Spirit through faith in Jesus Christ. Each one heard Jesus’ disciples from Galilee teaching about Jesus, and they heard them, not in a Galilean accent or dialect, but in their own native languages.

(Acts 2:12)  All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?”

Praises to God would be heard in Jerusalem in languages from all of the above places. On the Day of Pentecost, the curse of the Tower of Babel (see Genesis 22) was reversed. Now, all of the Jews from all of these places heard Galilean Jews speaking in their own individual languages. No wonder they were amazed and perplexed and wanted to know what it meant. The Holy Spirit created eager listeners by His gift of tongues on the disciples of Jesus. Any Gentiles in Jerusalem at the time could have also heard the gospel in their own language. From the beginning of Jesus’ ministry to the Day of Pentecost and beyond, Jews and Gentiles have had the opportunity to hear and believe the good news about Jesus the Messiah, God’s only Son.

Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further

1. Why do you think it was important for the Holy Spirit to come with the sound of a rushing wind?

2. Why do you think it was important for the Holy Spirit to rest individually upon each follower of Jesus in the house?

3. Why do you think it was important for the Holy Spirit to give the gift of speaking in tongues to Jesus’ disciples?

See two additional questions in the Commentary on 1 Corinthians 14:13-19 below that go with this Lesson.

1 Corinthians 14:13-19

(1 Corinthians 14:13)  Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray for the power to interpret.

After Paul wrote that God gives Christians different spiritual gifts, he wrote that if a person had the gift of speaking in tongues that he should also pray for God to give him the gift of interpreting what he prayed in tongues. He should pray for this additional gift and give God the reason that he wants this additional gift “for building up the church.” Otherwise, no one (including the person speaking in tongues) will know what was said or meant except God alone. No one may know the source of the tongues either because they may be uttered by demons who can talk through people (see Mark 5).

(1 Corinthians 14:14)  For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unproductive.

Paul revealed in his letter that if someone prays in a tongue his mind (or his reason and understanding) is unproductive (perhaps bypassed or not involved in the speaking). The spirit of the person moves their mouths rather than their minds moving their mouths. If they prayed with their minds, they would speak words and sentences that could be understood by them and those who speak the same language. Paul did not write that when praying in a tongue only the Holy Spirit spoke or prayed through someone, which the Holy Spirit can do. Demons can also bypass a person’s mind and speak through someone, as in some of the cases when Jesus and Paul cast out demons that spoke words of understanding (see Mark 5 and Acts 16). Paul wrote that the person’s spirit (a part of their psychological being as a person?) can pray using their tongue separate from the involvement of their reason and thinking processes. Those who speak in tongues should pray for the power to interpret so they and others can know if they are speaking words consistent with the teachings of the Bible or words that a demon has placed in their mouths. Words given by demons will not build up anyone, least of all the church.

(1 Corinthians 14:15)  What should I do then? I will pray with the spirit, but I will pray with the mind also; I will sing praise with the spirit, but I will sing praise with the mind also.

God had given Paul the gift of speaking in tongues. Others had received that gift and other gifts too. Some of those in the Corinthian church may have been tempted to pray only with their spirit in tongues without also engaging their minds and without any understanding of what they were actually praying to God. Therefore, Paul wanted those who prayed and praised God only with their spirit to pray and praise God with their mind as well, which would build up the church and also give meaning and purpose to them in their praying.

(1 Corinthians 14:16)  Otherwise, if you say a blessing with the spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say the “Amen” to your thanksgiving, since the outsider does not know what you are saying?

An outsider might be someone who is not a Christian or a Christian without the gift of tongues and without the gift of interpreting tongues. The Holy Spirit gives His gifts as He wills and He gives a variety of gifts (see 1 Corinthians 12). When any person cannot know or understand what another is saying, and especially when praying, they should not say, “Amen;” which means, “May it be so,” because they may be saying “May it be so” about something that would do harm or destroy someone or the church or be contrary to the Bible rather than build up someone or the church. Paul never wrote that everyone should have the gift of speaking in tongues or the gift of interpreting tongues.

(1 Corinthians 14:17)  For you may give thanks well enough, but the other person is not built up.

With tongues that no one can interpret, a person might thank God for something wonderful that God has done or he might praise God for Who He is, and God would appreciate their thanks and praises. But, Christians can also thank God and praise God in ways that will also build up someone or build up the church. Christians can pray for God to help everyone understand and give thanks to God for what God has done and for Who He is. A person and the church are best built up by engaging our minds as well as our spirits according to the Scriptures.

(1 Corinthians 14:18)  I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you;

Paul had reason to thank God because his gift of speaking in tongues was a gift from God. He did not write this because he was arrogant or felt superior to others. He sincerely wanted to thank God. Some people are not better than other people or more favored by God than others because of the gifts God has given them. God gives gifts to benefit many people and for purposes that God alone may know until He reveals them.

(1 Corinthians 14:19)  nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind, in order to instruct others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

Paul wanted Christians to use their gifts properly. It would do little good in a church worship service for Christians to pray and praise God in words that no one could interpret or understand but God alone. True prayer and praise in tongues could be made by believers at home. Paul emphasized that in church a few understandable words of instruction given with a mind actively committed to God for building up people in the church would be better than thousands of words that no one could understand.

Questions for Discussion and Thinking Further

1. Why do you think Paul wrote so much about the gift of speaking in tongues?

2. Why should both the spirit and the mind be engaged and work together when believers preach, teach, and praise God?

See three additional questions in the Commentary on Acts 2:1-7, 12 above that go with this Lesson.

Begin or close your class by reading the short weekly International Bible Lesson below.



Speaking in Tongues in the Church

International Bible Lesson
Acts 2:1-7, 12
&
1 Corinthians 14:13-19
Sunday, May 24, 2015
L.G. Parkhurst, Jr.

“And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it” (1 Corinthians 14:19—KJV).

“But in the church I would rather speak five intelligible words to instruct others than ten thousand words in a tongue” (1 Corinthians 14:19—NIV).

“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it” (1 Corinthians 14:19—NRSV).

In his first letter to the Corinthian Christians, the Apostle Paul wrote carefully about speaking in tongues; still, the debate about speaking in tongues has troubled the Church for many years. When the first apostles spoke in tongues on the Day of Pentecost, they spoke languages that others from other nations could understand. When the crowds wondered why they could understand these Galileans in their own language, they asked, “What does this mean?” Because the Bible is the only sure guide to spiritual truth and reality, Peter explained the Scriptures, and about three thousand people were added to the church that day (see Acts 2). Paul wrote that people need to understand what is said before they agree with an, “Amen” or a “So be it.” If someone speaks in tongues, then they need to pray for the interpretation so they can explain what they said. People make a mistake when they try to separate their mind from their spirit in their spiritual exercises or worship. They can easily be misled when they do not have their minds to help them discern the spirits that may be talking through them. People need their minds to evaluate what they are thinking, so they will believe and speak according to the Bible with the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Paul wrote that he would pray and praise God with his spirit and his mind together. Furthermore, in church, he would rather speak five understandable words to instruct people than ten thousand words that no one could understand. We could solve many problems by following Paul’s advice and example. – L.G. Parkhurst Jr.

Some teachers have asked for a handout they could give to students at the close of class so students could prepare for the next class meeting. This new handout for Sunday, May 31, 2015 is the Class Preparation Guide for 1 Corinthians 13:1-13.



— E-mail: lgp@InternationalBibleLessons.org : You may be reprint or reproduce this International Bible Lesson for not-for-profit use. More Uniform Bible Lessons are available at InternationalBibleLessons.org. Read the verse by verse International Bible Lessons Commentary at: InternationalBibleLessons.com.  See the recommended study and worship resources at SmallChurchResources.com.


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