(What was the miracle on Pentecost?) Bible Question
“When the apostle were preaching on Pentecost (Acts 2), did God perform a miracle so that all the people could understand them in their own language, or were the apostles speaking with different languages?”
NOTE: The “they” in the first paragraph refers to the apostles.
“When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of firedistributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.
Now there were Jews living in Jerusalem, devout men from every nation under heaven. And when this sound occurred, the crowd came together, and were bewildered because each one of them was hearing them speak in his own language. They were amazed and astonished, saying, “Why, are not all these who are speaking Galileans? And how is it that we each hear them in our ownlanguage to which we were born?“
– Acts 2:1 – 8 (New American Standard Bible)
I don’t know. There has long been conjecture about whether this miracle was one of speech or hearing – whether the apostles spoke in some sixteen languages or God caused the audience to hear and understand in their own language. Or both. And we may never settle it.
My conviction is that all the apostles were preaching – one to those who understood Latin, another to those who spoke Greek, still another to those who understood Arabic, etc. In any case, these were real languages, known to the people who heard the apostles preaching. And there can be no question that this was a miracle. And the people understood it as such.