Unknown Tongues?…NOT!
by Ronald W Robey
(written September 21, 2019)

Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

Acts 2:7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
Acts 2:8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
Acts 2:9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
Acts 2:10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
Acts 2:11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

Interpret 1 Corinthians 14:2 in light of the fact that the tongues given in Acts were known languages.

1 Corinthians 14:2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

The word “unknown” is in italics. Meaning, the word “unknown was not in the original text. The word “him” is also in italics. So, 1 Corinthians 14:2 actually reads:

“For he that speaketh in a tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.”

The word “tongues” in Acts 2:4 and the word “tongue” in 1 Corinthians 14:2 are translated from the same Greek word, “glossa”. It means, “a language; one unnaturally acquired.” The tongue itself is not unnatural, it is the way it was acquired that was unnatural. They were speaking in tongues that were known languages, but they did not acquire them through study of the languages.

1 Corinthians 14:2 is not saying that tongues are an unknown language. When it says no man understandeth, it is speaking of how the person is able to speak in the tongue…just as those in Acts 2 did not understand how men who were not from their countries were able to speak their languages.

Acts 2:7 And they were all amazed and marvelled, saying one to another, Behold, are not all these which speak Galilaeans?
Acts 2:8 And how hear we every man in our own tongue, wherein we were born?
Acts 2:9 Parthians, and Medes, and Elamites, and the dwellers in Mesopotamia, and in Judaea, and Cappadocia, in Pontus, and Asia,
Acts 2:10 Phrygia, and Pamphylia, in Egypt, and in the parts of Libya about Cyrene, and strangers of Rome, Jews and proselytes,
Acts 2:11 Cretes and Arabians, we do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God.

To say that the tongues mentioned in Acts 2 or 1 Corinthians 14 are an otherworldly language is grievous error.