The Significance of Acts 1:8 & the Tongues of Pentecost.

Acts 1:8 is very significant because it falls right in line with the Great Commission (Matt. 28:19). Acts 1:8 states, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” [1] So in knowing these things we are called to be his witnesses to the end of the earth, meaning we must speak of him everywhere. Longenecker suggest, “It comes as a direct commission from Jesus himself—in fact, as Jesus’ last word before his ascension and, therefore, was one that is final and conclusive.”[2] Since Jesus thought missions to be important we as the church, must not lose sight of its importance. Bock goes on to say, “The church exists, in major part, to extend the apostolic witness to Jesus everywhere.”[3] Without this verse we may not have fully understood the importance of the Spirit and the responsibility we have to speak of Jesus everywhere.

The topic of speaking in tongues is a very touchy topic. However, when we are dealing with a specific portion of scripture we can try to be less emotive about our response. Acts 2:6&8, “And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language…. 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?” [4]gives us a pretty clear indication that these were national languages. Verses nine through eleven go on to list upwards of sixteen different languages. I believe that since people were able to understand the languages there were no “heavenly” languages being spoken. Fernando supports this with, “But the sign mentioned in Acts 2 is different to that discussed in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14, for the language there was not understood by the people.”[5] If there had been a heavenly language the gospel would not have gone as far, however, “God is using for each group the most familiar linguistic means possible to make sure the message reaches to the audience in a form they can appreciate.”[6] This therefore leads me to understand that there are heavenly tongues they just were not present on the day of Pentecost.


[1] The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Ac 1:8.

[2] Longenecker, Richard N. The Expositors Bible Commentary- Acts. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981) 256.

[3] Bock, Darrell L. Acts. (Grand Rapids: Baker Publishing, 2007) 66 .

[4] The Holy Bible : English Standard Version. (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Ac 2:6–8.

[5] Fernando, Ajith. NIV Application Commentary: Acts. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998) 91.

[6] Bock, Acts, 102.

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