oa Conspectus : The Journal of the South African Theological Seminary - An evaluation of speaking in tongues as Angelic Language from the Judaean and Early Christian Perspectives - research

Volume 28 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1996-8167



In contemporary Pentecostal and Charismatic circles glossolalia is often referred to as the tongues of angels, with 1 Corinthians 13:1 being quoted. Yet writings on the tongues of angels available in the first century and the Judaean context from which Paul wrote do not support such a narrative. In addition, the Corinthian context and the writings of the Church Fathers also paint a picture not aligned with the contemporary view. An analysis of 1 Corinthians 13:1–3 shows it to be a weak support for establishing the concept of contemporary ‘angelic language’. Other influences may have given rise to the idea of glossolalia as the tongues of angels, but the Bible does not appear to support such a view.

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