Understanding The Gift Of Tongues
I was reading up on your website and I came across the article about thedifferent types of the Holy Spirit and also speaking in tongues. . I was wondering if speaking in tongues is”right”…for example i went to church with a friend of mine who wasPentecostal and their whole church spoke in tongues while praying…. I was theonly person that did not and to me, it sounded like nothing. Is this whathappens when a person is blessed with the gift of speaking in tongues? What isit used for?
I’m very confused…thanks so much!
Thank you so much for writing and asking this important question. The wholeissue of tongues has been very confusing for many people, especially since ithas received a lot of attention within certain movements in the past fifty yearsor so. I think it would be very beneficial for us to go back to the Bible andsee just how the gift of tongues is presented and how it should be thought of.Only by placing this gift back into a biblical framework will we be able toproperly discern its place in the church and how we should approach it.
Speaking In Tongues Is One Of The Nine Power Gifts Of The Spirit
The power gifts are called power gifts because they are visible manifestations of supernatural power, strength, knowledge, and ability that can only come from God. Humans simply do not have the capability to operate in these gifts unless the Holy Spirit gives them and fuels them. The Holy Spirit is the One working through you when you use any of these power gifts .
The power gifts are also referred to as such because it’s an easy way to distinguish them from the other listings of additional spiritual gifts elsewhere in the New Testament.
The power gifts are listed in 1 Corinthians 12:1-11, as follows:
Paul Was Not Afraid Of A Trans
If Paul had been fearful of trans-rational experience , would not his next step be to repudiate the use of tongues altogether, or at minimum to warn us of its dangers? At the very least we should expect Paul to say something to minimize its importance so as to render it trite, at least in comparison with other gifts. But he does no such thing.
Paul asks the question, in view of what has just been said in v. 14, What is the outcome then? , or What am I to do? . I know what many of you think he should do: Put a stop to this ridiculous and useless practice of speaking in tongues. There is only one viable response only one reasonable conclusion: Ill never speak in tongues again since my understanding is unfruitful. But that isnt what he says. His response is found in v. 15. There we read that he is determined to do both! I WILL pray with my spirit, i.e., I will pray in tongues, and I WILL pray with the mind also, i.e., I will pray in Greek or the language of the people so that others who speak and understand the language can profit from what I say. Clearly, Paul believed that a spiritual experience beyond the grasp of his mind, which is what I mean by trans-rational, was yet profoundly profitable. He believed that it wasnt absolutely necessary for an experience to be rationally cognitive for it to be spiritually beneficial and glorifying to God.
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The Gift Of Diverse Tongues Is A Way To Commune More Closely With God
First Corinthians 14:1-5 tells us that speaking in tongues is speaking directly to God. It is a language for prayer. This passage compares the purposes of two giftstongues and prophecyby explaining how each gift is to be used:
Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.
For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.
I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.
The Difference Between The Evidence And The Gift Of Tongues
Volume 52 The Mysteries of God
There are many differences between the evidence of tongues and the gift of divers tongues, one of the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit. People, confused about the difference, have not gone on to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit after they were saved. Scriptures have been misused, many people deceived about the importance of seeking the Holy Ghost baptism. The Bible is very plain in its teaching on both the gift of divers tongues and the evidence of tongues that first comes in when people receive the baptism of the Holy Ghost.
In Acts the gifts of the Spirit are not dealt with. The Church was getting underway in great power and manifestations of the Holy Ghost, and the message was: Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved . Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call . On the Day of Pentecost, they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance . At Pentecost and since Pentecost, everyone who has received the baptism of the Holy Ghost has spoken in tongues.
If you meant that prayer, He has come. Praise Him, He is yours!
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Tongues Are Manifested In Real Languages Not Babble
An important point in understanding the gift of tongues is the fact thattongues are real languages. The crowd in Acts 2 noted this when they said,”We hear them in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds of God.”Paul confirms this as well when he says “Unless you utter by the tonguespeech that is clear, how will it be known what is spoken? For you will bespeaking into the air.”
Unfortunately today, there are many congregations that are so eager to speakin tongues, the worshippers will babble phonetic sounds but they aren’t speakinga real language. In a situation such as the one you faced, there can sometimesbe so much pressure to “manifest” tongues that congregants feel asthough they need to say something, and they speak whatever comes to mind. Ithink that this is putting too much emphasis on one specific gift ,and thiserror can cause the whole congregation to stumble as a result.
Worse, I have heard some popular Word Faith teachers, such as Ken Hagin,stand in front of a congregation and purport to speak in tongues, but in realitythey were speaking gibberish on purpose! I believe that by so doing, they arenot honoring the Holy Spirit but mocking God by falsifying His gifts.
The Gift Of Speaking In Tongues Can Include Heavenly Dialects
The gift of speaking in tongues that continues throughout church history and is so widespread today is the Spirit-prompted ability to pray and praise God in a heavenly dialect, possibly even an angelic language that is not related to anything spoken on earth such as German or Swahili or Mandarin or English. The Holy Spirit personally crafts or creates a special and unique language that enables a Christian to speak to God in prayer, praise, and thanksgiving. This gift is not a human language that one might encounter in some foreign country, but a Spirit-empowered capacity to speak meaningful words that are only understood by our Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (unless, of course, God provides the interpretation through the one speaking or through another believer.
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Profound Spiritual Fruit Is Possible In The Life Of The Individual Believer When He/she Prays In Tongues Privately
When you pray in tongues in private, you are most certainly praising. The person who speaks in tongues is truly praying to God , praising or worshiping God , and thanking God , all the while his/her mind is unfruitful . By unfruitful he means either, I dont understand what I am saying, or other people dont understand what Im saying, or perhaps both. Paul doesnt understand what he is praying or how he is giving thanks or in what manner he is worshiping. But praying, praising, and giving thanks is most certainly taking place! And all this at the same time he lacks cognitive awareness of what is happening.
Many say: Pauls response to his mind being unfruitful should be to stop speaking in tongues altogether. Shut it down. Forbid it. But that isnt Pauls conclusion. No sooner does he say that his mind is unfruitful than he makes known his determined resolve: I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also . We know that Paul is referring to praying and singing in tongues because in the next verse he describes giving thanks with ones spirit as unintelligible to those who may visit the church meeting.
Obstacles To Receiving The Gift Of Tongues
How can I speak in tongues? How can I break through the obstacles to speaking or praying in tongues?
May 7, 2018
How do I receive the gift of tongues?
This is the question that people have always asked having heard about the gift of tongues.
I am personally unable to teach you how to speak in tongues, as it is the Lord who gives this gift and all gifts that are manifested by His Spirit.
But I can help you identify obstacles in receiving this wonderful gift, then help you learn how to express it.
Receiving The Spirit Is A Life
This is why Paul can say in Acts 19:2 when he meets the confused disciples of John the Baptist, Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed? What would a contemporary Protestant evangelical say in response to that question? I think we would say something like, I thought we automatically received the Holy Spirit when we believed. I dont understand how you can even ask the question. How could Paul ask that question? He could ask it, I think, because receiving the Holy Spirit is a real experience. There are marks of it in your life. And the best way to test the faith of these so-called disciples is to ask them about their experience of the Spirit.
Heartfelt praise and worship is the mark of a real experience of the Holy Spirit.
This is no different than what Paul said in Romans 8:14, All who are led by the Spirit are the sons of God . I sometimes fear that we have so redefined conversion in terms of human decisions and have so removed any necessity of the experience of Gods Spirit, that many people think they are saved when in fact they only have Christian ideas in their head not spiritual power in their heart.
Why Is Speaking In Tongues Important
Speaking in tongues is important because it allows for direct communication between your spirit and God. It should be a part of everyday life for a Christian. Paul said he prayed in tongues more than all the Corinthians.
I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all 1 Corinthians 14:18
This is probably how Paul received so much revelation! When you pray in tongues, you edify yourself until your mind is able to receive spiritual revelation. You will be able to start understanding spiritual things and understand the written Word like never before.
He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 1 Corinthians 14:4
When you pray in tongues, the Holy Spirit is inspiring the words and allowing you to communicate directly from your spirit to the Father, without the hindrance of your natural mind. This gift of tongues allows you to pray perfect prayers! It builds you up in your most holy faith and releases the hidden wisdom of God.
But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, Jude 20
Isaiah prophesied that God would speak to His people using this language of the spirit.
For with stammering lips and another tongue He will speak to this people, To whom He said, This is the rest with which You may cause the weary to rest, And, This is the refreshing Yet they would not hear. Isaiah 28:11-12
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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.
What Does The Bible Say About Speaking In Tongues
The Bible says that speaking in tongues is a spiritual gift, but what does it mean?
The gift of speaking in tongues is a spiritual gift. It means speaking with words or in a language one doesnt know in order to edify both oneself and others.
Jesus foretold of speaking in tongues: And these signs will follow those who believe they will speak with new tongues. Mark 16:17. The first time anybody spoke in tongues was on the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit was poured out on the apostles, as related in Acts 2:1-12. The apostles spoke the gospel to the crowds in Jerusalem, and what they said could be understood by people speaking many different languages: we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God. Acts 2:11.
Later Paul also writes about the gift of speaking in tongues, in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14. However, here he writes that the person speaking in tongues doesnt speak in an understandable language: no one understands him however in his spirit he speaks mysteries. 1 Corinthians 14:2. Yet this gift that has been given to believers can be of benefit to the recipients and used to edify others in Christian gatherings.
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Paul Preferred To Exercise The Gift Of Speaking In Tongues In Private
If Paul speaks in tongues more frequently and fervently than anyone else, yet in church almost never does , where does he speak in tongues? In what context would the affirmation of v. 18 take shape? Clearly, Paul exercised his remarkable gift in private, in the context of his personal, devotional intimacy with God. Again, the only grounds I can see for objecting to this scenario is the reluctance that many cessationists have for spiritual experiences that bypass or transcend the mind.
Speaking In Tongues Is Not To Be Done When Addressing People Publicly Unless It Is Also Interpreted
First Corinthians 13:26-33 tells us:
How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.
If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret. But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God.
Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge. But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent.
For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged. And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
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Speaking In Tongues Is Not A Way To Disturb Your Church Service Or Interrupt The Pastor
First Corinthians 14:39-40 says:
Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order.
We have to take the entirety of Scripture together in context when we define our theology, paradigms, and protocol. Even though speaking in tongues is a good thing and is a gift from God, Scripture also teaches us that all things should be done decently and in order. And standing up in the middle of the church service while your pastor is preaching and shouting out a word in tongues is NOT considered