From: Eric Weiss (
Date: Thu Feb 26 1998 - 12:31:05 EST

I'm in a discussion re: the LALEIN hETERAIS GLWSSAIS of Acts 2:4 ff. I
suggest that a good case can be made that there was perhaps a miracle of
hearing going on here, in addition to - and maybe even INSTEAD OF - a
miracle of foreign languages being spoken.

At Acts 10:46, it's written that the people at Cornelius' house that
Peter had been speaking to - presumably in their own language - began
LALOUNTWN GLWSSAIS - and Peter says in the next verse that they received
the Holy Spirit "as (hWS) also we [did]" - and in Acts 11:15 Peter says
the Holy Spirit fell on them "just as (hWSPER) also upon us in the
beginning" and at 11:17 he says that God gave them the "same" (ISOS)
gift. In other words, Peter thus seems to be identically equating (hWS
KAI / hWSPER KAI) the reception/outpouring of the Spirit at Cornelius'
house with what happened to him and the (119?) others at the Day of
Pentecost in Acts 2. This to me weakens some persons' arguments that
LALEIN hETERAIS GLWSSAIS means something distinctly different than
LALEIN GLWSSAIS - an argument I think some use to say that I Corinthians
12-14 is speaking about something different than Acts 2.

In addition to my above argument that LALEIN hETERIAS GLWSSAIS can be
equated with LALEIN GLWSSAIS, it seems the situation in Acts 2 favors a
miracle of hearing rather than a miracle of speaking a true foreign
language by Peter and the others which they had not naturally learned.
For with 120 people (some argue that it was only the 12 that spoke in
tongues here, but that's another issue!) speaking about 12 or 16
different languages all at once, it's difficult to see how the (3,000 or
more?) gathered people could distinctly hear their own languages being
spoken. So I'd argue that there had to be a miracle of hearing at least
in addition to a miracle of speaking, and that since some thought it was
just drunken babbling, the understanding in their own languages may
exclusively have been a miracle of hearing because the tongues that
Peter and the others were speaking were not understood languages - in
other words, no different than at Acts 10 and I Corinthians 12-14.

The reason I ask this is the person I'm discussing this with has
responded each time that the context of Acts 2 (I assume he means the
Greek wording, too) strongly favors that Peter and the 119 were actually
speaking the languages of the gathered people there - that it was
definitely a miracle of speaking known languages, though it may have
been accompanied by a miracle of hearing, too. He suggested I read
Gordon Fee on this (I guess he means God's Empowering Presence as well
as Fee's NICNT commentary on I Corinthians).

Not having easy access to these volumes of Fee's, can anyone comment on
whether the context and language of Acts 2 favors that they spoke real
languages as opposed to my argument/suggestion above that it was perhaps
a miracle of hearing and that the miraculous tongues of Acts 2 was no
different than the Corinthian speech - i.e., it was
ecstatic/Spirit-inspired speech, but not speech in known human

"Eric S. Weiss"

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.4 : Sat Apr 20 2002 - 15:39:07 EDT