The Gospel According to Duo Lingo



Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. 

Jesus, I belong to you.

I lift up my heart to you.
I set my mind on you.
I fix my eyes on you.
I offer my body to you as a living sacrifice.

Jesus, we belong to you. 

Praying in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, amen. 

Acts 22:1–5

“Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense.”

When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet.

Then Paul said: “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city. I studied under Gamaliel and was thoroughly trained in the law of our ancestors. I was just as zealous for God as any of you are today. I persecuted the followers of this Way to their death, arresting both men and women and throwing them into prison, as the high priest and all the Council can themselves testify. I even obtained letters from them to their associates in Damascus, and went there to bring these people as prisoners to Jerusalem to be punished.


Paul’s apostolic mojo just keeps getting better. Did you pick up in the previous reading where Paul seemingly surprised the Roman soldier by speaking to him in Greek? Then he turns and addresses the Jewish rioters in Aramaic. Did you notice that in both instances he immediately captured the attention of his hearers?

When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet.

I never cease to be surprised by people who speak multiple languages. It’s impressive. What impresses me most is to observe the other person being spoken to in their own language. It often visibly impacts them. When it comes to languages, I am a hack at best. Over the years I’ve managed to learn a few words and phrases from several different languages. I use them every chance I get and, without fail, it delights the hearer. Their face usually lights up with a smile, conveying a feeling they have been seen and respected.

This was the great surprise of Pentecost. Utterly amazed, they asked: “Aren’t all these who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in our native language?” (Acts 2:7–8)

According to the Bible, the gospel will not stop until it is spoken in every language on the planet. Ultimately, every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (see Philippians 2). This is the ultimate Pentecostal reversal of Babel. Note it is not everyone speaking the same language, but everyone speaking different languages yet saying the same thing. That is a picture of the diverse unity of the kingdom of Jesus. 

Given all of this, it seems like the church would be even more interested in and committed to the teaching and learning of multiple languages than the schools are. Doesn’t it? Why aren’t our churches centers of learning languages? It’s probably the most apostolic move we could make. Duo Lingo means two languages. I think my challenge is it feels lonely to try and learn a language on my own. I need a duo or more people to do it with. 

It’s one of my great regrets—never learning to speak another language. It makes me wonder . . . what if I had thought of it as an act of discipleship rather than an optional elective in high school? Even better, what if I approached learning another language as an act of love for God and for all who speak it? 

We have it on good evidence that the Holy Spirit will help you.


Lord Jesus, I am your witness. I long to be like you. And I know that being like you simply means you being at home and yourself in and through me. To that end, 

I receive your righteousness and release my sinfulness.
I receive your wholeness and release my brokenness.
I receive your fullness and release my emptiness.
I receive your peace and release my anxiety.
I receive your joy and release my despair.
I receive your healing and release my sickness.
I receive your love and release my selfishness.

Come, Holy Spirit, transform my heart, mind, soul, and strength so that my consecration becomes your demonstration; that our lives become your sanctuary. For the glory of God our Father, amen.


How about you? Do you speak any other languages than your native one? Have you ever considered learning another language an act of discipleship to Jesus?


Today we will sing “Lord, Speak to Me” (hymn 439) from our Seedbed hymnal, Our Great Redeemer’s Praise. Get your copy here. 

For the Awakening,
J. D. Walt

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Comments and Discussion

5 Responses

  1. Unfortunately, I am fluent in only one tongue, when it comes to languages. However, I’ve have discovered that there is a form of speech which I can only describe as the language of love; that Spirit indwelt individual’s can immediately discern when they come into contact with one another. It could be the Spiritual Gift of Spiritual discernment; I don’t know, but I know it’s real.

  2. It’s not too late for you, JD. Here’s my language testimony. I felt prompted to get serious about learning Spanish at age 71 and began to watch YouTube videos in Spanish for an hour or more almost every day and to read at least one chapter in my Spanish New Testament every day. I eventually discovered Duo Lingo and began using it for a half hour or more each day.

    After 9 months two families from southern Mexico moved in next door to me (not a coincidence). My wife and I got to know and love them, and I get to use my Spanish with them a lot. After 10 months I attended a Spanish immersion school in Costa Rico for two weeks and stayed in the home of a local family. It was an amazing way to share the Gospel with the family, with my teachers, and with my fellow students who were from the USA, Canada, and Germany. (When they asked me how I was learning Spanish I told them that I was reading the Bible in Spanish every day. That opened the door for me to share my faith with them.)

    It has now been a year and a half since I started and I’m continuing with my daily activities in Spanish and really enjoying them. Experiencing Spanish, using it, and understanding it is much different than hearing a talk about it. The same with the risen Jesus.

    I woke up this morning with this poem and the following paragraph forming in my heart and mind before I got out of bed:

    Jesus calls
    Like Niagara Falls.
    Come close to Me
    So you can see
    And experience
    My reality.
    Let me surround you
    With My living water
    So that you stay soaked
    And spiritually stoked
    With the mist
    Of My presence.
    Let me rock your boat
    And train you to trust Me
    To keep you afloat.
    Keep coming near
    And you will hear
    My holy roar
    Drowning out
    All your fear and doubt.
    Don’t just visit once
    And think you’re done.
    Live every moment
    Aware of Me,
    Christ, the Son
    Of the living God.

    I heard about Niagra Falls all my life, but it was just words in my mind until I rode a boat into its horseshoe shape and was surrounded and shaken by its majestic reality. Words about Jesus are nothing like His literal presence. Do whatever it takes to experience His glorious, life-transforming reality, not just once, but continually live your life in intense awareness of His presence throughout each day.

  3. About 45 years ago, my husband and I were attending College Church of the Nazarene in Olathe, KS. This is the same town that hosts the Kansas School for the Deaf. Our church started offering American Sign Language (ASL) classes so we would have people in our church ready to communicate with any Deaf people that might visit. About the same time, a Deaf man, Rick McClain, and his hearing wife, Deb, started attending the same church and Deb interpreted for her husband all the time. Rick was going to seminary to become a pastor. I met Rick through the ASL classes and he started telling me I needed to become an interpreter. To make a long story short, I’ve been interpreting now for close to 40 years and I really got started by interpreting in church. There is nothing so amazing as watching the expression of a Deaf person when they meet someone that can communicate with them. For many of them, their own family never learns to sign. And then to watch them learn that Jesus loves them and gave His life for them — well, let’s just say I’m thankful God brought Rick & Deb McClain into my life!

  4. It’s never too late JD. My wife and I answered God’s call on our lives to become full time missionaries to Latin America at 51 and 52 years old. We did have the advantage of learning Spanish at a Missions Language school in Costa Rica. Once we got to the country of Paraguay we realized that most people spoke a tribal language called Guarani – so we dove into that. It does indeed show people that you care for them
    When you speak their language – even if it is not perfect. I used to say that don’t speak English perfectly either.
    Gather some Spanish speaking believers around you who want to learn
    English and teach each other.
    Blessings – Ed Baker

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