Monday, 1 October 2007

The gift of Tongues

The first time we see the use of the supernatural gift of tongues is on the day of Pentecost in the book of Acts. In Acts 2:4 And they where filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

In this verse we see the disciples speaking “with other tongues”, but what exactly is other tongues? To understand fully what actually happened on the day of Pentecost, we need to look at the following verses. Acts 2:5 And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. 6 Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language.

If we read on to verse11 we get more detail on the various languages spoken by the disciples. So we can conclude that on the day of Pentecost the “other tongues” which the disciples spoke was indeed other languages, spoken and understood by men.
Another very important reference to tongues is seen in 1 Corinthians 12. Paul teaches us about spiritual gifts, including the gift of speaking in diverse kinds of tongues and also the interpretation of tongues. These spiritual gifts are from the Holy Spirit and given to the body of Christ as he wills (vs 11).
The Holy Spirit is the decider of who gets what gifts and how many. Although we cannot choose which gifts we operate in, we are encouraged to desire the spiritual gifts (vs 31, chp14:1).

Do all Christians have the gift of speaking in tongues? Many Christians believe that in order to show the evidence of the Holy Spirit in a believers life, he or she must speak in tongues. Many churches will call a new believer to a pray line and begin laying hands on them and encourage them to speaking tongues by faith.

The bible is clear that we all do not have the gift of tongues. In vs 12 Paul asks the Corinthians these rhetorical questions. “Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?

The conclusion therefore is that all believers do not have the gift of tongues.

There is often the question asked “Are there more then one type of tongues?” I believe there are two kinds of tongues. Lets look deeper into the scriptures on this matter.

We have already looked at the tongues spoken by the disciples on the day of Pentecost, which is clearly a tongue of men. The bible calls it “other tongues” or “other languages”.
Also 1 Corinthians 13:1 says “though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. This seems to distinguish two kinds of tongues, those which are understood by men (as in Acts 2) and those of angels (a heavenly language).

For more clarity on this, we need to look at Paul’s letter to the Corinthians on the subject of tongues. 1 Corinthians 14:2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

Paul is clearly saying that “unknown tongues” are not understood by men and that the speaker speaks mysteries in the spirit which only God understands (vs 27,28). So this must be a different kind of tongue than what was spoken o the day of Pentecost. The events that took place on the day of Pentecost was the fulfilment of a prophecy spoken by the prophet Joel, and was specific to Jewish nation.

The tongues which Paul speaks of is the gift of the spirit as spoken of in 1 Corinthians 12.

So what is the purpose of tongues today and what relevance to they have to the body of Christ? Tongues are a gift to be used in edifying the church (as all other gifts), but tongues can only edify the church when used in conjunction with the gift of interpretation of tongues (chp 12:10, 14:5-19).

The gift of tongues must be exercised in order (chp 14:33) and accordance with scripture. Paul addresses order for the use of tongues in chapter 14:27,28 If any man speak in an unknown tongue, let it be by two, or at the most by three, and that by course; and let one interpret. 28 But if there be no interpreter, let him keep silence in the church; and let him speak to himself, and to God.

Paul explains clearly the correct use of the gift of tongues, focusing on order and the best way to benefit everyone with the gift. This is the guide to be followed by those who exercise this spiritual gift, so that all may be edified and there be no confusion in the church.


Anonymous said...

I need to comment on your post regarding tongues. I agree as far as the gift of tongues. But when you are praying in the spirit (to God)and the bible speaks of this(1 Cor 14:2), that we are praying in our prayer language, which is in tongues.

1 Cor 14:2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

dazzarai said...

Hi Tishah, I agree with you.
You can pray in the spirit TO God, but the point is that we ARE praying in a heavenly language, therefore it is to be done in your closet UNLESS their is an interpreter. Without an interpreter, it is in vain to the hearer and they cannot benefit from the gift.


Anonymous said...

Where in the bible does it tell anyone they have an heavenly language ? That' misinterpretation of scripture.

Where in the bible does is say you have a prayer language ?

Anonymous said...

Read 1 corinthians 14, especially verse 2 (For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not unto men, but unto God: for no man understandeth him; howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

Witt said...

Dazz did you know that IMB the missions board for the baptist has now "forbidden speaking in tongues" they say that if you condone it or speak it even as a prayer language only you can not be in their missions. The funny thing is that their president over the missions has a prayer language so they told him he was ok, but all others are forbidden if they say it is true or if they have one. I sent them this scripture "Do not forbid the speaking in tongues" and told them if they can find clear scripture which forbids speaking in tongues then I would start forbidding everyone, but if they can;t find it in the Bible then I have to go with what Paul said!

dazzarai said...

Hi Witt, your right Paul said that tongues should not be forbade, only that It should be done in orde. Daz