The Gift Of Speaking In Tongues
The gift of speaking in tongues has been one of the most controversial of all the spiritual gifts listed in 1 Corinthians 12.
It is not my desire to stir or spread controversy. So as I answer the question of what is speaking in tongues, I am reminded, so I warn you, of Pauls admonition in 1 Corinthians 13 where He says that even if he spoke with the tongues of men and angels but had not love, he would be a clanging cymbal.
So as I try to approach the question of what is speaking in tongues, please hear my heart.
This is not a subject or an issue that should bring division or cause us to lose focus on the mission we all have been given. We are called to witnesses to this world by loving one another.
The gift of speaking in tongues is a gift that is unique to the New Testament church. You do not find this gift in operation at all in the Old Testament.
The gift of speaking in tongues is the ability to speak in a language that was previously unknown to you.
It is not the talent for learning new languages but a gift of being able to speak in an unknown language by the unction of the Holy Spirit.
Now many people have criticized those who have this gift because they have tried to test to see if they were known human languages that people have spoken. They are trying to prove that speaking in tongues is wrong.
Another distinction that needs to be made in understanding what is speaking in tongues is the distinction between praying in tongues and public speaking in tongues.
Some People Read It As Though The Holy Sprit Did The
them both, just like many have decided to do only the latter. Really, the choice remains with us! The Holy Spirit iswaiting on us. He is forever with us and ready to grant uswords to speak and pray whenever we tune in to tongues.
Please understand this, saints. The Holy Spirit can urge youto pray or speak in tongues, but He cannot force you to. Thedecision still remains with you. That is why 1Thessalonians5:19 says, Quench not the Spirit. The Holy Spirit is given to usas our helper, so if we reject His help He wont force us.
Why Is Speaking In Tongues Important
Speaking in tongues stimulates faith and helps us learn how to trust God more fully. For example, faith must be exercised to speak with tongues because the Holy Spirit specifically directs the words we speak. Speaking in tongues is the initial evidence of the infilling of the Holy Spirit.
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What Was The Purpose Of Speaking In Tongues
To show that God was backing Christians. In the past, God provided miraculous signs to prove that he was backing faithful people such as Moses. Speaking in tongues served a similar purpose, showing that God was backing the newly formed Christian congregation. The apostle Paul wrote: Tongues are not a sign for the believers but for the unbelievers.1 Corinthians 14:22.
To enable Christians to give a thorough witness. Those who heard Jesus followers on the day of Pentecost said: We hear them speaking in our languages about the magnificent things of God. Thus, another key purpose of this miracle was to enable Christians to give a thorough witness and to make disciples of people of all the nations, as they had been commanded by Jesus. About 3,000 who observed the miracle and listened to the witness that was given became disciples that very day.Acts 2:41.
The Potential For Every Believer To Pray In Tongues In Private Devotion Exists
Some insist that 1 Cor. 12:7-11 and 12:28-30 refer to the gift of tongues in public ministry, whereas 1 Cor. 14:5 is describing the gift in private devotion. In 12:28 Paul specifically says he is describing what happens “in the church” or “in the assembly” . The Spirit doesnt gift everyone to speak in tongues during the corporate gathering of the church. But the potential does exist for every believer to pray in tongues in private.
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Christian Prayer Language Praying In Tongues
Praying in tongues is different from speaking in tongues. Praying in tongues is still a gift from the Holy Spirit, but only used for you to speak to God, not to share with a group of people.
For if I pray in tongues, my spirit is praying, but I dont understand what I am saying.
1 Corinthians 14:14
Paul is writing about praying in tongues. He tells us that when we pray in tongues, we dont understand what we are saying. It is meant for you to use personally between you and the Lord.
When you pray in tongues you are allowing the Holy Spirit to speak through you and pray on your behalf. Praying in tongues is mostly used in private prayer times, although, some people do pray in tongues while praying for another person.
Romans 8:26 says
And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we dont know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.
This shows us that the Holy Spirit can pray and intercede through us when we dont know how to pray. Whereas 1 Corinthians 14 reminds us when people pray in tongues, others around them dont know what they are speaking.
Prophesy vs. Tongues
Paul speaks of the differences and uses for prophecy and tongues in 1 Corinthians 14. In verse 5 he says,
Paul goes on to say a prophecy is helpful to the church and how if you speak in a language no one knows it cannot be of use to them. He writes in verses 16-17
In verse 18 it says
Doesnt The Bible Support Speaking In Tongues
The most common prooftext Charismatics will use to defend the speaking of tongues is Romans 8:26. However, their interpretation of speaking in tongues is rather peculiar as they do not believe it is speaking in other languages but rather speaking incomprehensible gibberish. To debunk this argument, lets take a look at their strongest prooftext for speaking in tongues.
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The Gift Of Tongues: : Does Every Believer Receive The Gift Of Tonguesare Tongues The Evidence Of The Baptism Of The Holy Spirit
Should Every Believer Speak In Tongues?
Does Every Believer Receive The Gift Of Tongues?
Are Tongues The Evidence Of The Baptism Of The Holy Spirit?
This is the final message on this topic. Enjoy!
Some believe that the speaking in tongues is the confirmation or evidence that the person, who has believed in Jesus Christ, has received or has been baptized with the Holy Spirit. This baptism is God filling this person with himself. Conversely, if a person, who believes in Jesus Christ, does not speak in tongues, then this is evidence that they have not received or been baptized with the Holy Spirit.
Some churches will emphatically say that if a person does not speak in tongues, then they are not saved. Others will not be as harsh. They will say, follow these guidelines and the baptism will eventually occur.
The bottom line appears to be that according to some everyone, who is saved, will evidence this spiritual realty by speaking in tongues.
The question is, will every believer receive the gift of tongues or will every believer speak in tongues?
If the answer to these questions is no, then the answer to the question, is tongues the evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, will also be no.
Please read the brief analysis, the related scriptures, and the view response.
At the end of the entire comparison analysis of each view, hopefully you will be able to determine for yourself, which view you believe is being supported.
Should every believer speak in tongues?
# : Speaking In Tongues Is For Every Christian
In all of the passages above we saw that when someone received the Holy Spirit, they spoke in tongues, 100 percent of the time. In the upper room, it was 120 people out of 120, in Cornelius household, it was everyone who heard the word, in Ephesus when Paul confronted some disciples, it was twelve in all. Speaking in tongues is for every believer, not just some.
And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons they will speak with new tongues they will take up serpents and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.
Jesus just rose from the dead in this passage, and He is telling His disciples the miraculous signs that follow believers. One of the signs mentioned is speaking in tongues. If you are a believer, the sign of speaking in tongues should follow you.
Now some say, in regards to the above passage, that new tongues just means you wont curse or lie anymore. Now that may be true in a sense because we as Christians shouldnt lie or curse. However, it is clear in Mark 16:17-18 Jesus is talking about miraculous manifestations of Gods Spirit in the believers life.
A common objection
Speaking in tongues is a gift of the Spirit and Paul says in 1 Corinthians chapter 12:7-11,29 that not everyone has all the gifts. So how are you saying that we all have the ability to speak in tongues?
Excellent question, lets look at those passages.
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The Principle Is This:
When God speaks to people in a language they cannot understand, it is a form of punishment for unbelief. It signifies his anger. Incomprehensible speech will not guide or instruct or lead to faith and repentance, but only confuse and destroy. Thus, if outsiders or unbelievers come in and you speak in a language they cannot understand, you will simply drive them away. You will be giving a sign to unbelievers that is entirely wrong, because their hardness of heart has not reached the point where they deserve that severe sign of judgment. So when you come together , if anyone speaks in a tongue, be sure there is an interpretation . Otherwise the tongue-speaker should be quiet in the church . Prophecy, on the other hand, is a sign of Gods presence with believers , and so Paul encourages its use when unbelievers are present in order that they may see this sign and thereby come to Christian faith .
Therefore, Paul is not talking about the function of the gift of tongues in general, but only about the negative result of one particular abuse of tongues-speech . So, do not permit uninterpreted tongues-speech in church, for in doing so, you run the risk of communicating a negative sign to people that will only drive them away.
There Is Much Controversy That Surrounds This Gift
There is probably no spiritual gift that is so discussed or so misunderstood as the gift of speaking in tongues. The exercise of this gift has led to an exaggerated emphasis by some while a denial of its existence by others. Churches have been divided over the meaning, purpose and existence of this spiritual gift.
Even the nature of the gift is debated. Some believe that the gift of speaking in tongues was limited to known earthly languages while others feel that tongue-speaking can refer to ecstatic utterances, or a heavenly language.
Some believers elevate the gift to a place of importance that is far beyond what the New Testament teaches. This includes regarding the gift of tongues as the sign that a believer has received the Holy Spirit or the power of the Holy Spirit which is often called the baptism with the Holy Spirit.
In addition, the gift of tongues is believed by some to have ceased with the death of the apostles while others think the gift is still valid today. All of these questions about the gift of speaking in tongues need to be addressed in detail.
What is important is that we have a biblical understanding of the gift. Thus, it is essential that we discover things which everyone agrees upon.
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Not Every Believer Contributes To The Body In The Same Way
Thus, according to Hayford, Paul’s point at the end of 1 Corinthians 12 is that not every believer will contribute to the body in precisely the same way. Not everyone will minister a prophetic word, not everyone will teach, and so on. But whether or not everyone might pray privately in tongues is another matter, not in Paul’s purview until chapter 14.
“All are not prophets, are they?” . No. But Paul is quick to say that the potential exists for “all” to prophesy . Why could not the same be true for tongues? Couldn’t Paul be saying that whereas all do not speak in tongues as an expression of corporate, public ministry, it is possible that all may speak in tongues as an expression of private praise and prayer? Just as Paul’s rhetorical question in 12:29 is not designed to rule out the possibility that all may utter a prophetic word, so also his rhetorical question in 12:30 is not designed to exclude anyone from exercising tongues in their private devotional experience.
What The Bible Says About Speaking In Tongues :
The tongues spoken on the Day of Pentecost were real human languages.
The variety of nations represented would certainly confirm this. The word “language” = dialekto = dialect . Can this phenomenon still occur today? Absolutely, yes. But in my opinion it happens quite rarely.
Some insist that the tongues in Acts 2 were not human languages. Acts 2 describes not the hearing of one’s own language but the hearing in one’s own language. At the same moment that “other tongues” were spoken through the Holy Spirit, they were immediately translated by the same Holy Spirit into the many languages of the multitude . Thus, there is both a miracle of “speech”-other, different, spiritual tongues-and a miracle of “understanding,” each facilitated by the Holy Spirit.
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Taking Text Out Of Context
Here is a personal note on the gift of tongues and the twisting of scriptures. Sadly, many denominations or churches do not take problematic scriptures and place them against all the scriptures relating to a particular subject to discover the proper context to see whether it is biblically sound or not. This is what is meant by rightly handling the word of truth and no prophecy of Scripture comes from someones own interpretation . A sound principle is that if there is a problematic scripture or verse take all the other scriptures that relate to this subject and place them all against the one scripture or scriptures to bring clarity to the subject. If we still can not decide its meaning, then this might be Gods prerogative alone to know about and we have no business trying to inject or infer meaning when God is not clear on the subject. If God has not plainly revealed its meaning in scripture or it is not clarified by other scripture, then this is not revelation from God intended for us and should not be taken as such. Revelation from men is highly questionable and not like the inerrant Word which is infallible. If God had wanted us to fully understand it, He would have revealed it. Some things that are not clear must be for Him alone to know and we have no business trying to decode such enigmatic scriptures into a meaning that we were never intended to know in the first place.
Can Speaking In Tongues Be Taught
Speaking in tongues can not be taught because every spirit filled believer has their own unique prayer language. This language comes from the Holy Spirit, not from man. There is no man that can teach you this language. However, listening to someone else pray in tongues can help get you started if you are struggling to activate the gift. You can even mimic another persons tongues at first if that helps you. You will know when your own language has taken over.
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Speaking In Tongues In The Bible
There are multiple references to the gift of glossolalia in the Bible. Most scholars believe it is found exclusively in the New Testament, but that is not universally accepted.
The first time the gift of tongues appeared historically was at the event known as Pentecost. Recorded in Acts 2, a group of believers was gathered together after the Ascension of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit fell upon them in the form of a flame, indwelling in them. After this event, they could speak in foreign languages to those gathered in Jerusalem for a holy day.
Besides the account of this first time, other passages of the Bible illustrate when and how, as well as specific instances of, speaking in tongues. One comes from the Lord Jesus, and the others are accounts in the Book of Acts of the Spirit falling on groups of people and empowering them with that spiritual gift.
Summary Question 1 What Is The Gift Of Speaking In Tongues
Speaking in tongues is a spiritual gift. It is the ability to speak in languages that have not been previously learned. The proper way to state the gift should be speaking in languages rather than speaking in tongues. However, speaking in tongues has become part of Christian vocabulary.
Speaking in tongues is only mentioned in two New Testament books Acts and First Corinthians. In fact, in only one of the four books where spiritual gifts are mentioned, First Corinthians, do we find a reference to speaking in tongues.
In the New Testament, speaking in tongues seemingly had one of two purposes. It was a sign to the unbeliever or a means of prayer. While there may have been other purposes for the gift these two are certain.
We know that not every Christian has the gift. Indeed, the gift was given by God to only a select group. Those who had the gift were not any more spiritual or less spiritual than anyone else.
Scripture also warns about the misuse of the gift and has set down certain guidelines for its use. These guidelines need to be followed if the gift is going to be exercised.
There was to be no tonguespeaking in church without an interpreter present. Paul emphasized that there are no exceptions to this command.
The gift, like all spiritual gifts, is not meant to be permanent. There will come a day when this spiritual gift will cease. Even with all the abuses present, the Apostle Paul told believers in Corinth not to forbid the exercise of the gift.