December 09, 2022 Pastor Luther Walker

Dialect (διάλεκτος)

Dialect (διάλεκτος)

Dialect describes the mode of speech within language related to a region or group. It is words that are “gathered” and are distinguished from the generally accepted literary form of the language such as idioms used by a local region or class.  

The reaction of those in Jerusalem hearing of how Judas died established a specific Aramaic word to describe his field.

Therefore, this one indeed acquired a field out from the wages of unrighteousness and having fallen forward he burst in the midst and all his intestines poured out. And it came to be known to all the ones dwelling in Jerusalem, so that to call that field in their own dialect, Akeldama, that is, a field of blood – Acts 1:18-19.

In the upper room on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples and mentally controlled them so they spoke in other languages, we see from the response of the devout Jews from every nation who were in Jerusalem and were drawn to look due to the sound of a mighty wind that the disciples were speaking in different dialects (Acts 2:6,8). This is an important aspect of the Spiritual gift of speaking in tongues. It is not just another language, but a dialect known to a specific local region or group.

And this sound having happened, the crowd gathered and were confused because they heard each one in their own dialect which they speak … And how are we hearing each one in his own vernacular in which he was born? (Acts 2:6,8)

Paul landed in prison in Rome due to entering the temple in Jerusalem with four men who had finished a Nazarite vow, when Jews from Asia accused him of defiling the temple and stirred up the other Jews to attack him. Hearing the commotion, the Roman commander stops the beating, and after getting more information concerning what was going on, permits Paul to speak to them, for Paul assumed they did not know that he was a Jew. The Jews that had been stopped from beating him to death were astonished when he spoke in their dialect (Acts 21:40; 22:1). Paul did not just speak in Hebrew, but in the type of Hebrew one would hear in Jerusalem. 

Later, in recounting the events to King Agrippa, Paul states that the voice he heard on the road to Damascus was in the Hebrew dialect. So, God did not just speak with Paul in Hebrew, but in a specific vernacular of Hebrew (Acts 26:14).

Dialect is an aspect of a language that is specific to a local region or group, which often employs idioms that are unique and outside the generally accepted structure of the language. When God told Israel that He was going to speak with them by different tongues and different lips, He was not just speaking of general language, but of specific vernaculars (1 Corinthians 14:21). This means the Spiritual gift of speaking in tongues is not only a known language, but also very regionally specific, and is a sign to the unbelieving Jews (1 Corinthians 14:22). However, even giving them such an incredible sign, just as He said they would, they did not listen and now the Spiritual gift of speaking in tongues has caused itself to cease, for Israel is now in a state of unbelief (1 Corinthians 13:8) and therefore the sign is no longer active within the Church today.