Crosspoint Church | Georgetown, TX

Pentecost: Overcoming the Language Barrier!

Today’s devotion is based on the sermon of June 5, 2022.  Listen to it here!

Now the whole world had one language and a common speech. 2 As men moved eastward, they found a plain in Shinar and settled there.

3 They said to each other, “Come, let’s make bricks and bake them thoroughly.” They used brick instead of stone, and tar for mortar. 4 Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”

5 But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower that the men were building. 6 The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

8 So the Lord scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city. 9 That is why it was called Babel—because there the Lord confused the language of the whole world. From there the Lord scattered them over the face of the whole earth. (Genesis 11)


Ever since this event after the worldwide flood, language has been a barrier to the interaction of people.  Language was to be a unifying aspect of the world’s population.  God intended that people would multiply and fill the earth and have a common language that whenever they would get together they could both communicate and understand each other.  However, like with so many things God intends to be a blessing to people, people with a sinful nature use that blessing for selfish purposes.  Language was no different.

Instead of listening to the Lord’s command and filling the earth, they concocted an idea for self-promotion.  They communicated to one another, not the words and direction of the Lord, but used language to promote and convince others to go against the word of the Lord and build a city with a tower to promote themselves.

God did not coddle them and but rather divided them.  Language would no longer be a blessing that united, it would be a curse that divided.  Because the languages were confused, people gathered with others who spoke a similar language and settled in different parts of the world (Note: There is and always has been one race, the human race.  However, the division of languages has created different people groups (which our current culture calls “races”).

For thousands of years and still today we live in the shadow of the selfishness of Babel and the struggle to overcome language barriers to communicate and work together.

Yet there is one message that transcends “every, nation, tribe and people.”  The message of the Gospel is to be communicated in and among all nations.  It is the power of God for the salvation of souls.

In the event of Pentecost for a brief time, the Lord allowed the language barrier to be miraculously overcome to “declare the wonders of God.”  As people from all over the Mediterranean world gathered in Jerusalem for the festival of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples with the ability to speak fluently in other languages.

5 Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. 6 When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. 7 Utterly amazed, they asked: “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? 8 Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? 9 Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome 11 (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!” (Acts 2:1-11)

For a brief moment in time, the language barrier was overcome to communicate the words and work of God to the hearts of people.  The power of the Gospel and the work of the Spirit is what overcomes the division of languages to bring salvation to all people.

Language is still a barrier and the curse of Babel still creates barriers, but dedicated men and women with a love for Jesus are using their God given gifts to bring the “wonders of God” to every nation, tribe and language.

Apply: How can you be part of or support the message of the Gospel reaching others who don’t speak the same language as you?  Here’s two to consider: Dr. Chris & Janine Pluger works with Lutheran Bible Translators ( or the WELS World Missions (  or if you need resources in different languages (

Prayer: Lord, you directed us to go into all the world and preach the Gospel.  Equip us with the power of language to communicate the power of your Gospel to the hearts of people. AMEN.

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