Sunday, May 06, 2007

What Language Will We Speak in Heaven?

There are several questions that I have about heaven. One of them is, what language will we speak in heaven. I think that is a far more relevant question than asking God about UFOs or who shot JFK. If we are going to be in heaven and in community with people from all different countries and generations it seems like it is going to be pretty important to communicate with one another. Now, what I am about to say is pure conjecture but see what you think and let me know what ideas you have about it.

In the Bible God reveals himself to people in their native language. He speaks to Moses on Sinai in Hebrew. God, Jesus, and the angels reveal themselves to John in the book of revelation presumably in Greek or Aramaic. Obviously, God can use whatever language he wants because He knows it all anyway. But what about our communication with each other in heaven?
  1. 1 Corinthians 13 talks about the tongues of men and of angels so there seems to be a possiblity of other languages that could be used in heaven that we are not even aware of yet.
  2. In Acts 2, the Holy Spirit comes upon the apostles and they begin to speak in tongues to the crowd of Jews from all over the world. Acts 2:6-8 says, "When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked: "Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language?"God grants the apostles the ability to speak other languages. Presumably when Peter alone addressed the crowd he spoke in Greek so that everyone present could understand him.
  3. There is no scriptural example of this but I often wonder if when we get to heaven we will all speak our own language and hear each other in our own language. So I speak to Paul in English and he hears Greek. He replies in Greek and I hear his Greek response in English. I am probably going way out on a limb here but I think it is kind of fun to think about how this will work. That would allow us the full range of expression of our native language.
  4. We could all know one language - Hebrew, Greek, etc. This would take away that old scholarly joke about those who know Greek & Hebrew will be the only ones who will be able to have conversations in heaven with those from the Bible.
  5. We could all understand all languages present.
God has used language in a miraculous way in the past and it makes me wonder if there is something coming down the pipe that will blow our minds. Maybe there is an outside the box explanation that there will be something new that blows away everything that we have ever experienced here. We may not know for sure but certainly one day we will. Maybe we will sit around and talk about these comments and see who was closest ;)

Any way you cut it, it is miraculous. Whatever way God works this out I will certainly not take issue with. What ideas do you have?


lisa leichner said...

Cool. I don't think I've considered that before. I think God will give us all a new language. It certainly wouldn't be impossible for God to miraculously give us the knowledge of an entirely different language.

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john dobbs said...

I think we will just think and the other person will know our thoughts. And if they make us mad we can send a death ray with our eyes. But they will get up and forgive us ... they have to they won't be kicked out.

Sorry for the Silliness!

Interesting thoughts, Matt! I just pray I will not have to dust off Machen.

Matt said...


That is a very real possibility. It would be amazing to open our mouth and something totally new come out and make perfect sense.


So God replaces tears with death rays. Nice touch. And we wonder why we don't get to make up our own heaven!

Adam Gonnerman said...

I'm not planning on going to heaven for too long. From Scripture it looks to be the intermediate state. New Heavens and New Earth is what I'm waiting for, the merger of "Heaven" with creation.

Otherwise, couldn't quite tell you what language will be like in the new creation. I can't hardly imagine what the resurrection body will be like, let along this sort of detail.

Matt said...

Heaven may not be the best name for the place in between. But I know what you are saying.

Adam Gonnerman said...

No, I'd say heaven is fine, it's just that heaven and earth appear to be headed for merger...eventually.

danielle said...

nice idea though..but god doesn t exist..heaven doesn t exist..the only heaven we can touch is the life we are living now..cause we are the only responsable of it..

Charly said...

when my son was about 3 or 4 months old he used to say the same phrase over and over again, so my daughters and I decided it was the language in heaven. The word or phrase was bigugowa, I know it is silly but maybe that means I love you in heaven. It is certainly fun to think of.

Anonymous said...

At the Tower of Babel, God confused the Language into multiple languages. So, before the Tower there was a proto-language, maybe of Heaven or of Adam. The fact that God always has a honored remnant, even though Hebrew people are a stubborn people, and God honors them specifically would make me believe God would honor those that he could talk with easier.

Glenn Kun said...

Great Article and Blog!
See you in heaven sir Matt. :">
and God Bless us all

bill said...

Great question. I think it will be one language since the Bible states we will become like Christ. There will be no need for multiple languages (hence, one body, one Spirit, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all. Ephesians 4:1-6.

Anonymous said...

Zephaniah 3:9
For then Will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call on the name of the lord, to serve him with one consent.

Anonymous said...

Were probably speak Aramic Hebrew Greek. Maybee~haley

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