Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. (1st Corinthians 13:1 KJV)

Is there a Greek or Hebrew root wording to signify that the "tongues of angels" are the tongues heard spoken by Pentecostals, Oneness Apostolics, and other types of similar Christians?

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    – agarza
    Jul 30 at 23:10
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    Interesting question. FWIW, I'll note that those with alternate viewpoints would likely say Paul is using hyperbole to make a point, namely, that foundational virtues such as charity are more important than miraculous abilities.
    – Matthew
    Jul 31 at 0:46
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    This could well be migrated to SE-BH where I think it may have been answered already.
    – Nigel J
    Jul 31 at 2:41
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    Can you please explain the connection between baptism and 1 Corinthians 13:1? If there is no connection then perhaps the two tags [baptism and jesus-name-baptism] should be removed.
    – Lesley
    Aug 1 at 16:27
  • Hello, Lesley. Here, Paul was clearly speaking about tongues, which generally follows Jesus' name baptism as laid out in Acts. See Acts 2:4 and Acts 19:1-6, as well as Acts 2:36-39. Tongues are the "initial" sign of being filled with the Holy Ghost ("born of the Spirit" - see John 3:5) either preceeding or following water baptism in Jesus' name ("born of the water" - see John 3:5). Tongues, as mentioned in 1st Corinthians, are tied to these processes and acts. Paul wrote 1st Corinthians and was baptized in Jesus' name by Ananias in Damascus (Acts 9). Aug 2 at 9:59

1 Answer 1


The expression “tongues of men and tongues of angels” appear only in 1 Corinthians 13:1. The “tongues of men” probably refers to the gift of tongues given on the Day of Pentecost. On that occasion, when the Holy Spirit came upon the apostles, they were able to speak in foreign languages, and they were understood by the men they spoke to (Acts 2:4-12). God gave them the ability to speak a foreign language as a sign (1 Corinthians 14:1-33).

The expression “tongues of angels” may simply mean, within the context of that passage, that regardless of how gifted the recipients of this supernatural ability may be, whatever is spoken (even in the hypothetical speech of angels), it is all meaningless without the gift of love. Without love, one’s speech is no better than the useless babble of the pagan religions. The pagan culture of Corinth honoured their gods in ritualistic ceremonies accompanied by loud musical instruments such as gongs, cymbals, and trumpets. Their worship was a chaotic cacophony.

When Paul speaks of faith that can remove mountains (in the very next verse), he is using hyperbolic language to make a point. It’s a form of exaggeration to emphasise the point that showing God-given love is the most important gift of all.

If you want to know if there is a Greek word that suggests "tongues of angels" are the tongues spoken by Pentecostals, Oneness Apostolics, and others, you would have to ask in Biblical Hermeneutics.

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