What is “peeping” and “muttering?”


by Shawn Brasseaux

Charismatics today tell us that their “speaking in tongues” (glossolalia) is a sure sign that the God of the Bible is working in their midst. Is that so? Friends, let us look in the Bible for answers!

The Corinthians were the Charismatics of the Bible. They had their own “tongue-speaking” experiences. Like today, some were quite strange! These Christians were abusing spiritual gifts; therefore, Paul had to rebuke them, correct them. He wrote three chapters to them about spiritual gifts. Please refer to 1 Corinthians chapters 12-14. The professing church, had it remained faithful to believing and applying these passages, would have never gotten involved in the Charismatic Movement at all!

First Corinthians 12:1-2 begins: “[1] Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. [2] Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led.” You can see the Corinthians’ pagan, tongue-talking background hinted at when Paul mentioned “dumb [as in mute] idols.” They believed their heathen idols could talk and teach them doctrine. You can take a concordance and find Israel’s Old Testament making constant references to idols that do not and cannot talk. Israel had to be told time and time again that those idols were unable to speak.

Psalm 115:1-8 is one instance: “[1] Not unto us, O LORD, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory, for thy mercy, and for thy truth’s sake. [2] Wherefore should the heathen say, Where is now their God? [3] But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased. [4] Their idols are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands. [5] They have mouths, but they speak not: eyes have they, but they see not: [6] They have ears, but they hear not: noses have they, but they smell not: [7] They have hands, but they handle not: feet have they, but they walk not: neither speak they through their throat. [8] They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.”

In the Old Testament economy, in heathen religion, wizards that “peeped and muttered” (chirped, incoherent speech, babbled) were seducing Israel into false religion. Isaiah 8:19-20 says: “[19] And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? [20] To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”

The false religious system that had corrupted Israel centuries earlier, the false religious system that had deceived the Gentiles in the Old Testament, the Corinthians had come out of that system when Paul preached to them in Acts chapter 18. Then, after Paul had left Corinth, false teachers slipped in and the Corinthians returned to their heathen religion (including those pagan, tongue-talking experiences). You can see why they abused God’s gift of tongues in chapter 14. Paul had to write to them to warn to quit associating with vain religion. They were not to go back to what God had saved them from! In 1 Corinthians 12:2, Paul told the Corinthians that idols could not talk.

Just as Satan used counterfeit miracles and experiences and “tongues” to mislead Israel, he was misleading the Corinthians. Satan wants to mislead us today with those same activities. Paul warned the Corinthians to not engage in such behavior. Even today, various non-Christian religions have their own mysterious “ecstatic languages.” Are we going to say that God the Holy Spirit is moving them to “speak in tongues?” Then, speaking in tongues alone does not guarantee the Spirit of God is working in individuals.

Also see:
» Should I speak in tongues?
» What a modern-day “faith healing?”
» Did Paul quote verses out of context in 2 Corinthians 6:14 –7:1?