Much has been written by our brethren on the subject of tongues in the New Testament; however, few writers deal with the most elementary research—the meaning and use of the Greek word translated into English as tongue or tongues. The Greek word for tongue is glossa. Glossolalia is the most common translated word for tongues and it is a combination of two words glossa, tongue, and lalia, speaking. Glossalalia literally means tongue-speaking. When we search the Old and New Testaments for the usage of the words in question, the Greek Bible reveals glossa is used about 100 times and in only two ways. One, it is used to describe a member of our anatomy (the tongue); secondly, it is used to mean the known language of a known people. It is very important to note that the Holy Spirit used Paul to refer to tongues as a KNOWN language of a known people in 1 Corinthians 14:21. Not ONCE in the Old Testament is it used to refer to an ecstatic, supra-human language from a higher order of beings, angels. In the New Testament the word glossa means the same and NEVER refers to some ecstatic or supra-human language!!
When first used in Acts 2 the thing I find most amusing is that ecstatic utterances would have hardly been a sign because many pagan religions were practicing such in the first century—Dionysius, Phrygia, Bacides, Cybele, and even some sects of the Jews were practicing ecstatic utterances as early as the 5th century BEFORE Christ came to this Earth!! Men, on the birthdate of the Church of Christ on this planet, would not have been amazed to hear ecstatic utterances; they were common among the primitive pagan religions of that day!! (See The Greeks and the Irrational by E.R. Dodds and Possessions by T.K. Oesterreich) Glossa is used in Acts 2:11, 10:46, and 19:6. In Acts 2:3, 4, 11, and 26 glossa is used as dialect. In verse 8, the Greek word dialektos (the language of a nation) is used interchangeably with glossa in verse 11. Verse 8; “And how is it that we hear each of us in his own dialektos.” Verse 11; “We hear them telling in our own glossa.” How is this word used in the letters to the Corinthians?
First, let me state that the word unknown which appears in many translations absolutely does NOT appear in the original Greek!! Boy! Does this blow their bubble!! 1 Corinthians 12:10 and 28, refer to ‘various kinds’. Reading the book of Genesis we find a “kind” referred to a family or genealogy. Could Paul determine which ‘family, race, or part of the world’ a member of his audience was by their dialect IF TO HIM THEIR LANGUAGE WAS UNKNOWN? If you could not know because the language was unknown, how could you know that which you did and could not know—the LANGUAGE WAS UNKNOWN!! Remember, I have been to Disney World. I can pick out some I have heard over and over, but the new stuff that I have never heard, I cannot begin to tell you which continent they emanated from much less what country. I have a new one for the Pentecostals. Let them tell us what continent, country, and state strangers in their midst are from instead of lying about what diseases, cancers, or growths they are suppose have!! I have heard these lying preachers tell their audience they were “told” by the Holy Spirit that they had someone in their midst that had Ovarian Cancer. I was not sure if they knew what this even was but they went on to say God told them they would HEAL them that night!! My wife and I have a game. When we go to a restaurant and get a waitress with a strange dialect we both try and guess what country, state, or part of a state they are from. Spanish(?) forget it, we would not know HOW to tell if they were from Cuba, Puerto Rico, Spain or ????