What are the tongues of angels? (1 Corin. 13:1)

This is a very interesting text because while the Bible is replete with references to men “speaking with tongues,” there is almost a silence on the same for angels.

In instances within Scripture where angels spoke with men or to each other in the presence of men, they often spoke in a language that men could understand. This means that our concept of speech is limited to humans and might not be applicable to divine beings. Angels might not need words but simply “supernatural impressions” to speak to one another and to God. It only becomes necessary to translate those impressions when man is present. Hence, “tongues of angels” would be absurd.

Note that the entire chapter (1 Corinthians 13) is discussing love. The Apostle Paul uses intelligent exaggerations in a bid to prove his point. These exaggerations are glaring to the reader:

1 Though I speak with the tongues of men and OF ANGELS, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand ALL MYSTERIES and ALL KNOWLEDGE, and though I have ALL FAITH, so that I could REMOVE MOUNTAINS, but have not love, I AM NOTHING. 3 And though I bestow ALL MY GOODS to feed the poor, and though I GIVE MY BODY to be burned, but have not love, it profits me NOTHING.

This manner of speaking is grammatically referred to as a hyperbole (a deliberate and extreme overstatement). There are no “tongues of angels,” Paul was trying to explain love by using exaggerated statements.


© Josh Banks Ministries. 2020.


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