"My heart I give Thee, Lord, eagerly and earnestly." - John Calvin
Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Was the Apostle Paul a Pentecostal?
In I Corinthians 14:18, the Apostle Paul makes a simple statement: "I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you." Pentecostals love to quote this verse to prove that their theology has an apostolic origin. But does it?
Another thing that Paul says of himself, in Acts 21:39, is, "I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia." As a native of that mostly-Gentile city, he would have grown up as a native speaker of Greek. He repeats that information in Acts 22:3, and adds, "[I] was educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers." This refers to his training as a Pharisee (cf. Acts 23:6, 26:5, and Philippians 3:5). Both as a Jew by birth and as a Pharisee by training, he would have been intimately familiar with Hebrew. And the accounts of his defense before Roman authorities (e. g., Felix in Acts 24, Festus in ch. 25, and Agrippa in ch. 26) strongly imply a fluency in Latin.
In other words, the historical account describes Paul speaking at least three tongues, Hebrew, Greek, and Latin. Nowhere does Scripture describe Paul sing-songing "la-la-linga-dinga," or any such gibberish.
So, does Scripture give us an Apostle Paul who spoke in tongues? Absolutely! Do we find anywhere a Paul who could be compared to modern Pentecostals? Only in the imaginations of those who claim that name for themselves.
My name is Chris Cole. I have lived in the Charlotte, NC, area for over thirty years, and have been an active Presbyterian during most of that time. I love the Westminster Confession of Faith as a beautiful expression of my own personal beliefs.
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I prefer the English Standard Version of the Bible, and all quotations are from the ESV, unless otherwise stated.
I have a number of reviews of Reformed books on Amazon. There is a link to them in the Reformed links below.
"Seeing [that] the Lord of lords, the Lord Jesus, is so ready (never was there king so ready to hear a subject as Jesus is), [even] if thou wert the vilest body that goes, a thief, a harlot, etc., yet if thou wilt say this, 'Lord, remember on me, and give me a part of thy kingdom'; - if thou prayest to him from a penitent heart, with confidence and assurance, I promise unto thee, heaven and earth shall go [fall] together ere thou wantest [lack] thine asking. Seeing [that] our Lord Jesus is so liberal [free-giving], then seek more than enough, more than a kingdom, and thou shalt get more. The only cause why we want [lack] is in us: we have no hearts to seek it." - Rev. Robert Rollock, Scottish Presbyterian minister, about 1590, in a commentary on Luke 23:42-43