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and unexpectedly there came from heaven a sound like a violent wind that can move things

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and this sound filled the house

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where they were sitting.

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and unexpectedly there came from God a loud, confusing, fear-inducing sound that reminded them of the power of the Holy Spirit. This proof of the Spirit’s presence was demonstrated equally to everyone in the temple complex where they were sitting.


1: "can move things"

This participle comes from a verb that means “to bear, to carry or to move.” When referring to the wind it implies a wind that is strong enough to move things that should not be moved. This would be a scary wind at best, and a dangerous wind at worst. Wind was a well-known symbol of the Holy Spirit. When everyone heard the sound of this strong, unexpected wind, they wondered if the Holy Spirit of God might be doing something special.


Here the word “house” is being used of the temple and the entire temple complex. Many have assumed that the word “house” used in this verse refers to the upper room in which the disciples were gathered earlier, but that is not the only possible interpretation and not the best one; interpreting it as a reference to the temple fits the context better. It was common for any temple to be referred to as a house for it was considered the abode of the respective deity on this earth. This means that God’s Spirit made His presence known and did so in a way that was equally recognized by all who were in the temple complex. It was to the temple that many travelers would come during feasts of this type. The streets of Jerusalem were narrow and could not accommodate large crowds, but the temple complex was designed to hold a crowd of a few thousand. Right beside the broad set of stone steps that led up to the temple courtyard in those days there were numerous small pools of water used for baptism and other ritual cleansing.


This word can mean “to sit, or to reside, to abide.” I render it “sit” in this verse because it is used again in the next verse and the connection between the two uses should be made clear.


In Hebrew the concepts of “wind” and “spirit” are expressed by the same word. Thus, a forceful wind that came out of nowhere should have caused the Jews and converts to Judaism who were present that day to wonder if this were the Holy Spirit signaling that He was about to do something special. If nothing else, it should have made them wonder what was going on.


Here are a few fundamental thoughts I share with you before we get started for real with this topic of tongues.

The correct method of interpreting this issue must take into account all that is said about it in the Bible.

The issue of tongues is very confusing and very divisive because the various things we read about tongues in Acts and First Corinthians seem to point different directions.

Tongues are real. We should not ignore this issue or pretend that the Holy Spirit never does this.

There are real versions of this that have spiritual value; however, there are also counterfeit versions.

If Satan creates a counterfeit for something, it is something important.

The book of Acts should be the starting point for our understanding of tongues, not First Corinthians. Paul’s first letter to the church in Corinth was corrective in nature. For the most part, the church in Corinth was in chaos and speaking in tongues was one of several major problems Paul had to address in his letter to them. However, just because it is corrective does not mean we can throw it out. It only means that we cannot look to I Corinthians alone for insight into this topic.

Let’s not make this about us. Let’s not make it about what we are comfortable with, or uncomfortable with. Let’s not use it to make ourselves look good. Let’s not think we are better than others because we do, or because we do not, speak in tongues.


For those that have never spoken in tongues, I desire that through this study you will come to know God’s heart on a deeper level. But don’t worry, the Holy Spirit will not do anything that does not follow the rules for how spiritual gifts must be utilized.

For those that have spoken, or do speak in tongues, I desire that you continue emphasizing the work of the Holy Spirit and that you do so in a way that fits the rules that govern the use of spiritual gifts. But don’t worry, this study is not intended to prohibit you from speaking in tongues, however, it will redefine what that means. It will also demonstrate that the proper use of tongues will effectively impact those around you and thus fulfill the purpose of all spiritual gifts.