The Holy Spirit gave the gift of speaking other languages to the disciples. We need a similar gift when speaking to people who have experienced different situations.
Reference: v.8 "… Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?" (NIV Bible)
Explore: I'm fairly hopeless in learning other languages. I learnt Indonesian for 3 years of high school and can now only remember a simple greeting; I had to endure a year of Greek for my Theology degree and yet still need to cling to a commentry every time I come to understanding the original New Testament; and I've spent the last 3 Summers in the Philippines and yet I still praise God every time I'm reminded that most Filipinos will understand my English (or at least they will pretend to!).
In this Acts passage we hear of the first Pentecost where the disciples are filled with the Holy Spirit and start speaking in different languages so that people from many nations can understand them. (Luckily the Holy Spirit is better at languages than me!!)
Application: Living in Australia we are fortunate that we have one dominant language and no other dialects (although those Queenslanders sound a bit different, hey!) And yet I still think we need to rely on the Holy Spirit to speak to people. We may speak the same language but everyone has had different experiences. I have never had cancer but I may be called to speak to someone who has. It's then that I need the Holy Spirit to guide my speech. I've never given birth to a child before but I'm often called to speak to parents of new born babies, and again that's where the Holy Spirit guides my understanding. We can never fully understand what someone else has gone through and what they experience. But if we are open to the Holy Spirit we can be guided to speak the 'language' each person needs to hear.
Prayer: Lord, I often make mistakes and am surprisingly lost for words. Help me to be open to your Spirit so that I can speak other people's 'language'. Amen.
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This article was written by Linda Bailey
Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.