Bible Questions and Answers

Browse all the questions that have been asked at and see their answers, read the most recent questions and answers, or have a look at some prepared questions and answers on key Bible themes.

When the 12 apostles received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, one of the powers they received was that of the ability to speak in foreign languages which they had not learned.

The purpose was to allow them to follow Christ’s command to preach the gospel to every creature.

Mark 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

This was evident on the day of Pentecost when those visiting Jerusalem could hear them speak in their own language

Acts 2:8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born? 9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia, 10  Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes, 11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

The 12 apostles also had the ability to give Holy Spirit gifts to others by the laying on of their hands.

This is demonstrated in Acts 8:5-25

Philip had preached in Samaria and converted and baptised a number of Samaritans.

Peter and John travelled from Jerusalem to lay hands on them to give them gifts of the Holy Spirit.

The ability to give gifts of the Spirit was restricted to the apostles.

Philip although having himself gifts of the Spirit and being able to work miracles didn’t have the power to give gifts to others by the laying on of his hands.

Those on whom the apostles laid hands couldn’t give Holy Spirit gifts to others.

The gifts they received varied – the couldn’t all speak with tongues as Paul explains:

1 Corinthians 12:8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

1 Corinthians 12:29 Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? 30 Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

The answer of course is NO - some had one gift and others another.

Speaking in tongues was just one of the gifts and the purpose of it was so that the gospel could be preached in an unlearned language that others could understand.

Paul forbade speaking in tongues in the church congregation unless there was an interpreter.

1 Corinthians 14:28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

The thing to notice is that with the exception of Cornelius’ household in Acts 10:44-48 no one else is recorded as receiving gifts of the Spirit other than by the laying on of the apostles’ hands.

Acts 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. 45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. 46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, 47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

The ‘out of the ordinary’ baptism with gifts of the Holy Spirit of Cornelius’ household was to show Peter and the other Jews that Gentiles were to be received into the church.

Paul, converted by Jesus on the road to Damascus and appointed the apostle to the Gentiles, was given the same Holy Spirit powers as the other apostles.

He could give gifts of the Spirit by the laying on of his hands.

Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

Because Holy Spirit gifts could only be given by the 12 apostles and Paul, when they were all dead, Holy Spirit gifts ceased.

By this time the church had been established and the scriptures that make up the New Testament were complete.

Supernatural powers were no longer necessary.

1 Corinthians 13:8... whether there be tongues, they shall cease...

The absence of Holy Spirit gifts is clearly seen in the slide of the church into apostasy by the fourth century AD.

It became the State Church of the Roman Empire and adopted false doctrines from Greek philosophy.

Some of the false doctrines adopted are as follows:

The trinity, immortal souls, heaven-going at death, hell as a place of eternal torment, Satan as a fallen angel, division of the church into clergy and laity and the introduction of a priesthood.

It is a mistake to believe and teach that Holy Spirit gifts are available today.

It is a mistake to believe and teach that the sign of receiving Holy Spirit gifts is the ability to speak in a ‘language’ that no one can understand.

It is contrary to Paul’s commandment to allow people to speak in an ‘unknown’ language in the church congregation.

It is self-delusion to believe that we can receive Holy Spirit gifts today.

Holy Spirit gifts are not necessary for salvation.

May I suggest that you read:

The Holy Spirit

Tongues of Angels

I hope you find this helpful.

God bless,